As a Yoga teacher and massage therapist I know how important regular stretching is for your body. Human beings were not designed to sit for long periods of time every day – it’s not natural for our bodies. Not only that, but the way you sit — and type, and hold the phone – could be wreaking havoc on your bones, joints, and muscles. The negative effects of sitting for long periods can be exacerbated by the fact that our muscles shorten as we grow older; only stretches and massage can remedy that.
You might be thinking that it’s awkward to get up right now and stretch at your desk. If you are sharing an office then maybe you can stretch in your staff room or kitchen, or get the others in the office involved too and do a few stretches together. That would be great for your body and great for your mood too.
I experienced the benefits of stretching and yoga myself, when recovering from a horse riding accident 14 years ago which caused some fractures in my spine. Even today I know that keeping up the stretches and getting a regular massage helps me to stay pain-free and well.
Stretching can be simple and easy – as little as 5 to 10 minutes twice a day can be very effective. The benefits are far more than just being pain free and feeling less stiff, it also boosts your energy, improves your breathing, releases stress and makes you more productive.
If you stretch or do yoga regularly you will inevitably become more flexible. Flexibility means being able to move your joints and muscles through their full range of motion. As you become more flexible, you will find it easier to reach things on high shelves, to look back and reverse in your car, or perhaps to tie your shoes. You will also have a better sense of balance and coordination.
“People who sit at their computers for hours every day — they’re in for serious medical problems,” says Sharon Hame, MD, associate clinical professor at UCLA’s department of orthopaedic surgery. “We’re seeing more things than just carpal tunnel; those pains go up the arm to the elbow and shoulder and then translate to the neck and back. It’s a huge problem.”
In addition to carpal tunnel and other traditional ergonomic issues, new problems are cropping up, Hame says. “I saw a woman yesterday who had tennis elbow. She got it at work from the way she answered the phone and worked at the computer.” The solution, experts say, is to break up your work by doing stretching exercises at your desk.
Or print out this sheet below and pin it up above your desk. Here is the link to it.
There are many more great sheets that you can print out here.
Be well. Stay well!