If you’re like me and stuck in front of a computer all day (I shouldn’t say ‘stuck’ because I love what I do) then try these simple little stretches to keep you from feeling stiff. They’ve been super helpful in keeping me feeling good after the 12 hour days I’ve been putting in here lately. You might also try sitting on the floor near your desk and doing leg stretches as well.
- Neck: To stretch your neck, flex your head forward/backward, side to side and look right and left. This can be done almost anytime to lessen tension and strain. Never roll your head around your neck. This could cause damage to the joints of the neck.
- Shoulders: Roll your shoulders forward around 10 times, then backward. This helps release the tension off your shoulders.
- Arms and Shoulders: A good stretch for your arms and shoulders is to brace your hands on the edge your desk, each about a shoulder width away from your body. Twist your hands in so they point toward your body and lean forward, hunching your shoulders. Take this a step further and push your shoulders and elbows closer to the desk.
- Wrists: Roll your wrists regularly, around every hour or so. Roll the wrists 10 times clockwise, then 10 times counterclockwise. This will help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome if you spend a lot of time typing.
- Ankles: Roll your ankles regularly. As with your wrists, roll the ankles in a clockwise motion 3 times, then counterclockwise. This helps improve blood circulation, and prevents that tingling feeling you can get when blood circulation is cut off, also known as “Pins and Needles”.
- Chest: Notice if you tend to hunch in front of the keyboard. To counter that, perform the following exercise: open your arms wide as if you are going to hug someone, rotate your wrists externally (thumbs going up and back) and pull your shoulders back. This stretch is moving your body the opposite way to being hunched and you should feel a good stretch across your upper chest.
- Abdomen: Contract your abdominal and gluteal muscles, hold them there for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this for every few minutes all day long while you are working at your desk.
- Calves: Stretch your calves. While sitting, lift up your legs on the balls of your feet and set them down. Repeat until your legs are comfortably tired. Repeat after about 10 minutes later, and continue doing this routine for about an hour or so. This will exercise your calves, and will help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs. Blood clots are very common among middle-aged computer users.