The workout you can do at your desk
Being stuck at a desk all day wreaks havoc on your body, so stretch it out with this sequence by Morgan Webert
1 HIP OPENER
WHY: Sitting for too long causes your hips to tighten up, which can lead to lower back pain, a pinched sciatic nerve and aches down the back of your legs. This is an easy stretch to do while reading at your desk and can help save you from hip and back pain.
HOW: Sitting upright in your chair, place your right ankle on your left thigh and turn the raised knee out to the side. To amplify the stretch, lean forward slightly. You should feel a strong stretch in the glutes of the bent leg and the lower back.
2 CHAIR TWIST
WHY: The spine houses our central nervous system so if it’s restricted so are our neurological functions. Slouching can also cause back pain, so wring out that spine.
HOW: Sit upright in you chair, feet planted and knees together. Twist to the right to place your right hand on the back of the chair as you twist to look over that shoulder. Place your left hand on your right knee. Hold for 5-10 deep breaths. Return to the centre and repeat on the other side.
3 NECK STRETCH
WHY: Using a computer and mouse can strain your head forward and lift your shoulders for far too long, leading to restricted blood flow to the brain as well as creating tension headaches and shoulder pain. Regularly stretching it out will help avoid any pain.
HOW: Interlace your hands behind your head and drop your chin to your chest. Relax your shoulders away from your ears. Turn your chin to the right for 5-10 breaths then to the left for 5-10 breaths. Bring your chin back to the centre and slowly lift your head back up to the starting position.
4 STANDING SIDE STRETCH
WHY: Getting out of your chair at least every hour keeps your blood flowing and your brain awake. A simple side stretch will lengthen the whole body and is an easy way to revitalise yourself while preventing bad posture. Plus, it’s thought that lifting your hands above your head can boost confidence!
HOW: Stand tall and bring your right leg across in front of your left, then interlace your hands and stretch them above your head. Lean to the left and take a few deep breaths. Swap legs and repeat the lean to the right.
5 FORWARD FOLD
WHY: This decompresses the spine and stretches out the back, hips and hamstrings as well as bringing extra blood to the brain. HOW: Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, bend your knees slightly and fold forward. Interlace your forearms and allow your arms to hang. If this is uncomfortable, place your forearms on your chair or desk and rest your head on them. Relax and breathe deeply as you hold for 2-3 minutes. Stand up slowly.