Staying in one position for extended periods — say, at a cubicle desk — and performing repetitive movements (like clicking away at a mouse and keyboard) can lead to stiffness, and head and body aches. Once manifested, these discomforts start as mild nuisances but can evolve (in worst-case scenarios) to severe ailments that require medical help. Office workers, lab technicians, bank clerks, hairdressers and many others are subject to these types of pains. Which means: You have a good chance of experiencing it, too. Rather than reach for painkillers, try just reaching, then try with the other arm. Oh wait a minute, did you just stretch?
Relieve aches, pains and stiffness by performing a few simple stretches throughout your day. You can do them without even leaving your workplace — and your workplace can assist you. How sweet is that? Try any (or all) of the following stretches at work. Some are smaller and more discreet, others a little bigger and a bit more obvious. Choose what works best for your needs and your space. If your colleagues look at you funny, it’s only because they want to stretch too but are too shy. So, invite them to join you!
2. Forearm stretch: Palm facing up, pull your down and back toward your forearm; repeat, with other arm.
4. Spine release stretch: Standing with feet hip-width apart, and with your right hand on your left thigh and your left arm behind your back, gently twist, starting from the waist, moving up to your neck.
6. Biceps & front of shoulders stretch: Stand, with one leg forward and feet hip-width apart; clasp your knees, softly.
8. Back of thighs stretch: Sit forward on your chair and lengthen one leg forward; place your hands on your thigh (on bent leg) and lean forward from your hips.
10: Side bend: Reach one arm up and over your head, creating a C-curve through your spine.
Remember, these stretches are beneficial to you; don’t think of them as time-wasters at work! If anything, they will make you more productive (and wake you up a little!). Plus, they don’t take long at all: Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and practice them as often as it pleases you and as you need to.
Katya Mohsen is a personal trainer with over 10 years of experience in fitness and sports training. Catch her practical fitness advice Thursdays on Slice.ca.