Do you find your body stiff and tweaked after a day of computer work? If your workstation is already ergonomic–an absolute necessity–it’s time to start a regimen of computer breaks and stretches. These five stretches, done on a daily basis, will work wonders for your neck, shoulder, back, and wrists. Your body will thank you.
(Note: If you require more individualized exercises, consult a physical therapist)
1. Prayer Stretch
Sit up straight. Bring your palms together until your hands touch. Press the heels of your palms down until you feel a stretch in your wrists and forearms. Hold the stretch for five breaths, deepening it as you breathe. Release. Rotate your hands until they are pointing down. Pull the heels of your palms up. Hold for five breaths.
2. Wall Stretches
Bicep Wall Stretch
Targets: Chest, back, whole arm
Extend your arm against a wall. Extend your arm and turn your body around at the same time. You should feel this stretch in your biceps, pecs, and even forearm and hand. Hold each stretch for five breaths. Angle the arm down or up to find different stretches. Repeat on the other side.
Pectoral Wall Stretch
Targets: Chest, shoulders, back
Find a corner. Face into it. Place one foot into the corner. Place one forearm on each wall, with elbows bent at 90 degrees. Lean forward, hold the stretch for five breaths. Change the angle of your elbows to find different stretches. You can also try this in a doorway.
3. Shoulder Rolls
Sit upright. Lift your right shoulder towards your ear, inhaling. Exhale as you roll your shoulder back and down. Repeat three times, alternating between shoulders. Next, on an inhale, lift both your shoulders up. Release and exhale. Repeat five times. (From Yoga Journal.)
4. Neck Stretch
Sit upright. Drop your ear towards one of your shoulders without lifting the shoulder. Breath deeply five times. Straighten your head; repeat on the other side. For a deeper stretch, use one of your hands to pull your neck deeper in one direction. (From Yoga Journal.)
5. Tennis Ball Massage
Place a tennis ball on your desk. Roll out the front and back of your forearm on it, focusing on strained areas.