Stretch: 5 Easy Ones You Can Do at Home & Work

To be able to stretch is imperative to help you mitigate the chances of injury, or pain. Flexibility is a key benefit of stretching, but there are numerous other reasons to stretch, especially just before a workout. Even if you’re just going for a quick walk during your lunch break at work, (which if you’re still under some sort of lockdown due to the coronavirus; will probably involve a walk in the garden, or maybe your surrounding neighbourhood or local park); a sudden movement from your desk might risk you pulling something. Read on for Stretch: 5 Easy Ones You Can Do at Home & Work!

1. Tower Chest Stretch

If you are confined to your desk for long periods of time, your chest and shoulders are likely to be vulnerable to pain. Position yourself between a doorway and place one foot in front of the other. Bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle while simultaneously placing your forearms on opposing sides of the doorway. 

At this stage transfer your weight to your front leg, whilst leaning forward until you begin to stretch your chest muscles. I usually hold this position for about 40 seconds and then repeat, but if you are new to this form stretching then hold it for about 10-15 seconds and then repeat several times. Increase the length of time that you hold the position once your body has developed a bit more stamina.

2. Upper Back Stretch

This can be completed seated or standing, though I tend to complete this short stretch while standing. Commence by loosening up your wrists and arms by rotating them around after placing them at the farthest point away from your body. Now stretch your arms in front of you and then rotate your hands to allow your palms to face away from one another. 

Begin crossing your arms to enable your palms to be pressed together and connect the abs and back while reaching away, ensuring that you relax your head. Hold this position for about 10 to 20 seconds and keep focused. Try to think of something like the email, or project idea that you will resume once you get back to your desk.

3. Stay Hip & Stretch Your Hips

Just as with an intensive exercise routine, it’s important not to neglect the lower parts of your body when stretching. This still applies even if you’re not intending to engage in any intensive workouts per se. In a standing position, place your right leg a couple of couple of feet in front of you, then bend your back knee. 

Imagine you are doing a lunge and continue to lower your knees. You should start to feel your right hip being stretched. If you are a novice, then hold your body position for about 15 seconds, or less. You can increase effectiveness by intensifying the stretch squeezing the gluteal muscles of your back leg. Maintain this position for about 10-20 seconds, before moving onto the opposite leg.

4. Torso

This can be a very quick stretch. Place your hand behind your back and press both palms of your hands together, then push your chest outwards whilst heightening your chin. Pause this position for 10 seconds, or longer if you wish.

5. Hamstrings & Spine

This stretch requires a clean floor (not saying your office floor is dirty), but somewhere you feel comfortable lying on the floor. I work at lot from home, so I usually do this at home, but maybe bring an exercise mat to work, if you don’t feel comfortable putting your back on the office floor. Lay down on your back with feet on the floor. Bring both knees towards your chest and lightly rock.

Now fully extend your left leg on the floor, while simultaneously holding your right leg bent towards your chest. You may want to take several breaths as you ease your body into position and feel the benefit of the stretch in your hamstringTo continue, ensure that you keep your right shoulder on the floor, whilst with your left hand, guiding your right knee over the midsection of your body in the direction of the floor. Hold this position for about 20 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.

Being stuck in a sedentary work position is not ideal. Always take a 10-15 minute break at least every 2 hours to move, stretch and breathe. This may sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many people stay in relatively the same position tethered to a desk for hours on end. As a consequence, such workers may suffer from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).  What quick, but effective moves work for you in breaking up the monotony of sedentary work life? Let us know in the comments below, and join in the conversation on FacebookTwitter Instagram

David Myles

David Myles is an educational researcher as well as a health and fitness advocate. A former vegan, he encourages a diet that is at least 70% plant-based. David regularly engages in exercise routines, preferring to use his own in-house gym. Weather permitting, David enjoys outdoor exercise and is particularly fond of athletics (100 and 200 meter running). Health psychology and how food can enhance cognitive brain function and performance is also high on the list of his keen interests.

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