As we all know it is difficult to do exercises at our computers and stay in shape. Most of the time you are probably sitting just like me right now, hunched over the keyboard, body frozen in a position to type and slightly tightening the shoulders (that will not feel so good later today).
The best way to stop yourself from getting those aches and pains at your desk is to take quick breaks occasionally during the day to stretch, and here are a bunch of stretches that I found courtesy of Dr Rick Morris.
First remove your shoes and loosen restrictive clothing. Be sure that your area is free from hazards.
The Bird Grand your right ankles with your right hand with your right knee bent. Hold on to your desk with your left hand (standing on the right side of your desk); now bend over at your hip (not your waist) keeping your back straight. You should feel a nice stretch in the back of your left thigh and the front of your right thigh. Hold this position for one minute and repeat on the opposite leg.
Neck and Upper Back Stretch Hold your hands together behind your back as low as possible with your palms facing away from your body. Bring your chin all the way down to your chest and take five deep breaths in and out. Now turn and tilt your head to the right while pulling down with your left arm. Hold for five deep breaths. Now perform this to your left side.
Shoulder Rolls Shoulder Rolls, with your arms dangling at your side, roll your shoulders forward, upward and backward in a circular motion for 30 seconds. Start slowly and progress to a fairly quick motion.
The Teapot Stand with your feet shoulder width distance apart. Put your hands on your waist. Turn your left foot out completely (90 degrees) and your right leg in 30 degrees. Now tilt to your left while your left hand is on your left thigh or knee. Hold your right arm straight out from your shoulder. Continue bending to the left side as long as it feels comfortable. Hold this position for eight breaths. Be sure to continuously hold your left leg with your hand wherever it is most supportive. Continue this on the other side. You should feel a stretch to you outer waist and hip on the side opposite the direction that you are bending.
Outer Neck and Shoulder Stretch Put your right arm behind your back while tilting (not turning) your head to the opposite side. You should feel a pull in your right neck and upper shoulder. If a pinching sensation occurs to your left side, do not perform this exercise. Hold the position for five deep breaths in and out, relaxing more deeply with each exhalation. Repeat to the opposite side.
Neck Sling Clasp your hands behind your neck, elbows out, with your little fingers pressing up against the base of your skull. Now arch your middle back against the back of a firm chair (it should not fall back). The back of your chair should not be higher than the bottoms of your shoulder blades and lower than the bottoms of your ribs. Now allow yourself to fall backwards letting your head BUT NOT YOUR NECK extend over the back of the chair. This should feel great; if not, do not go back as far. Just relax like this for 30 seconds.
Neck Circles Neck Circles, put your arms down to your sides and let your chin drop to your chest. As you take in a deep breath, turn and tilt your head to the right. As you exhale drop your head back to your chest. Next, breathe in while turning and tilting to the left. While exhaling, bring your left head back to your chest. Start off slowly without pain and progress to a fairly rapid and continuous breathing and neck movement pattern. Do this for 30 seconds.
The Lumbar Arch The Lumbar Arch, lean against the back of your chair with the support being firm and fitting well within your low back. Arch against this as long as it feels comfortable. Place your hands behind the back support or under the seat to give added resistance (note: do not lock your neck backwards). Take five comfortable deep breaths while in this position.
Bend Overs Bend Overs-Straddle your seat with your legs wide apart and locked under the chair. Push your bottom all the way to the back of the seat and bend completely forward and down. If pain or instability begins to occur, stop, and see your chiropractic doctor. This could be a sign of a weak disc, Hold this position, if it is comfortable, for five deep breaths. Next, twist and bend over one leg and then the other. Each position should be held for five deep respiratory cycles.
The toughest thing about these exercise is starting to do them. Try them out today and see how musch better you feel. The key of course is to take good care of your posture in the first place but these exercises are going to do a worl of good for you as well.