Stretching helps maintain focus, improves energy, and releases stress. Employing a stretching routine at work can make each day less stressful.
If early morning and late evening workouts are not your cup of tea, when is the best time for you to exercise? Consider working out at work!
When it comes to exercise, every minute of activity accumulated counts. If your job requires you to sit for long periods of time, it’s important to move, stretch, and breathe (deeply) periodically to maintain focus, energy, and temperament. This becomes increasingly important if you don’t get any other form of exercise throughout the day.
Moving While at the Office Working
Every few hours, get up from your desk and walk around the office for a minute or two. Walk to the office of the recipient when sending inter-office emails. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or use the copy machine on another floor. On coffee break, walk a few flights of stairs instead of drinking coffee; this will surely get your blood pumping and your energy flowing.
Stretching from your Chair or Desk
Stretching is a great way to keep energy flowing, tension low, and morale high. A few times per day, push yourself away from your desk and perform this series of stretches:
- Lower back stretch: Sit on the edge of your chair with legs extended forward, heels on the ground and knees straight. Lean forward; you should feel a gentle pull in back of your legs. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat.
- Core stretch: Standing with feet shoulder width apart and hand on your hips, gently twist from the waist first left then right. Perform 10 twists in each direction.
- Abdominal stretch: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and raise hands over head. Gently lean backwards until you feel a slight stretch in the abs region. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat.
- Chest stretch: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, place hands behind back, fingers interlaced. Gently pull shoulder blades together behind you as you stretch the chest muscles. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat.
- Forearm stretch: Extend arm in front of you while holding finger, gently pull backward with palm facing away from you. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat. Stretch both arms.
- Neck stretch: Either sitting or standing with back straight, allow head to gently fall to one side, allowing the weight of head to stretch the neck. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat. Stretch both sides of neck.
Note all stretches should be performed gently with no bouncing. Take stretches to the point where you feel a slight discomfort and hold for suggested time. Be gentle with stretching.
Breathing Properly Ensures Energy Flow, Stress Reduction and Alertness
Once an hour it is important to stop and breathe deeply. Deep breathing energizes, releases stress, and oxygenates the brain. To deep breathe, begin by sitting up tall with your back straight. You can place your hands in your lap if you like. First, exhale all air from your lungs by pulling your abs in toward your spine as you exhale.
Slowly inhale while allowing the abs to expand and draw the oxygen into the lower part of your lung first. Continue inhaling as you fill your lungs from the bottom up. When you can no longer receive air into your lungs, hold for a few seconds and slowly exhale. Exhalation should be from the upper portion of the lungs down to the lower portion until all air is expired. Hold for a few seconds and repeat.
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