A Simple Stretching Routine for Busy People

Today’s guest post is great for anyone who spends a lot of time hunched over a desk – Ie: Probably everyone reading this blog.  It’s been my experience that there is a direct relationship between the mind and the body.  By taking care of your body you’ll be less stressed and more productive.

In this article, Maria gives a great exercise you should incorporate into your work schedule.  I’ve tried a variation of this myself and I can honestly helps me stay sharp and focused.  Enjoy!

Simple Office Stretching RoutineModern, active lifestyles often don’t leave time for a trip to the gym. Although medical studies on the benefits of stretching are inconclusive (Some studies say it helps, but others show no improvement.)

It is generally thought that stretching can improve your health, increase flexibility, and decrease the risk of activity-based injuries to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Maintaining a daily routine can help increase your productivity, reduce the severity and frequency of cramped muscles, and relieve stress.

Tips for Safe Stretching

*Don’t push yourself too hard, you can actually cause more harm than good!

*Focus on all the major muscle groups, but pay particular attention to any muscle groups you use at work. For us “Internet Lifestyle” types, that means the wrists, arms, shoulders, back, and legs. Also, keep sure to stretch both sides of your body.

*Hold each stretch for around 30 seconds and don’t bounce! Bouncing will actually create small tears in your muscle fibers, increasing tension and decreasing flexibility.

*Consider taking a class or watching an instructional video on Tai Chi or Yoga. Both of these activities offer a number of different stretches that can be performed in an office. Scientists believe that the gentle motions associated with Tai Chi may increase flexibility even more than traditional stretching.

The Routine

1. Abdominal Breathing – This yoga technique is quite effective at reducing stress and provides a good starting point for your stretching routine. First, start off by sitting up with your shoulders relaxed. Place your hands on your stomach. Breathe slowly in through your nostrils until your abdomen has completely expanded, and then slowly breathe out through your mouth. Concentrate on filling your “stomach” with each breath. Do this for several minutes.

2. Now stand in place with your feet spread slightly apart. We will begin our stretching routine at the top, and move down as we go along. First, concentrate on stretching your neck by pressing your chin down to your chest. Return to a neutral position. Now tilt your head to the right, bringing your right ear towards your right shoulder, and then repeat now going to the left. Now tip your head back and look straight up. Maintain proper posture with the rest of your body, moving only the neck. Hold each position for 30 seconds.

3. Now, while holding the rest of your body stable, slowly shrug up your shoulders and hold for several seconds then relax. Repeat 3-4 times. Now, lift up your arms to your sides, make small swirling motions, first forward then back, 30 seconds each.

4. Now, extend your arms in out in front of you, extend the fingers of one hand upwards so that your palm is facing out. Gently pull back on your fingers and hold. Now point your fingers downwards, pull and hold. Repeat for the other wrist.

5. Now place your hands behind your back and clasp your hands together. Extend your hands backwards, pinching your shoulder blades together, and hold in order to stretch out your chest.

6. Now spread out your legs slightly, about shoulder width, and raise one hand up into the air. Grab a hold of your wrist using your other hand and lean to the other side. Maintain your arm straight and directly overhead. Hold and then repeat for the other side.

7. Now bring your feet close together, maintaining both your legs and back straight, bend over, trying to touch your toes, and hold. Return to a neutral position and spread your legs out to shoulder width again. Bend over, again maintaining your legs and back in a straight position and attempt to touch one of your feet, and then repeat for the other foot.

8. (Optional) Now sit on the floor with your back straight up and your legs directly out in front of you. Bring your feet in towards your body and grab with your hands allowing your knees to swivel sideways towards the floor and hold.ng her laptop.

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13 thoughts on “A Simple Stretching Routine for Busy People”

  1. Thanks Maria for this post – sorely needed. How did you know I spend like 16 hours a day on my butt in front of my computer?!

    But seriously, getting up and moving around can do wonders both for health and clearing your head. I can’t count the number of times when I’ve been stuck on something and went for a short walk, when I sat back down everything opened right up.

    Great stuff and thanks again!

    • I think many of us spend way too much time with our butts in front of the computer. That is why this is a great post and really works. It is something almost all of us know we need…yet rarely do.

  2. Often time I feel my butt and my back sick because to much take a seat. Every time I spent a lot of my time in front of computer. Not only on office, but also at home. Because I work and office, and then I spent my time for blogging, so your instruction will be useful for me.

  3. Hi Maria:

    Like the field you are getting your education in . But as the previous blog that came from was talking about Freelance writers and how 80% of them are paid so low. Because 20% of the Freelance Writers with connections generate 80 % of the income made in this field. So Maria, I hope professionals like you who are studying this niche , I recommend to accept only higher paid jobs, so you do not get stuck in the other 80%. Right attitude and higher goals will take you there.

    I liked your post, all blogger need to know about it a little too often so they do it. I know some do it , but i am not sure not many. Thanks for a good reminder.

    All the best

    Fran a

  4. Stretching is actually really nice.
    It really feels good to get the blood flowing.

    Those of us who are stuck at our desks during the day really need to take the time to get our muscles relaxed.

  5. Hi Maria,

    The irony didn’t escape me that as I was reading this post I was totally hunched over with posture that would surely make you cringe. 😉

    I get my exercise in the morning before I hunch over my computer, but thanks for reminding me to take stretching breaks during my day. It really does improve creativity!


    • I agree, it really does. My posture is fairly poor too, but taking the occasional break really does enhance both creativity but hopefully slows down the chances of getting some long term injuries

  6. Thanks for the tips Maria,

    This all look like PE classes.

    I do go to the gym 3-4 times a week, but I always find myself getting stiff neck or back when I stay for long periods in from of my computer. I try do some stretching everytime I feel tense, this usually takes 30 seconds and are some simple left to right motions, but for me this kind of exercise do wonders and keep me going for 2 more hours :).

    • Alex,

      Yeah I do the same. I go to the gym about every 4-5 days now. (trying to get into better shape) but still those 2-3 daily strecthes have a nice impact I think.

  7. Hi Maria, thanks for more ideas on stretching. I do take yoga which helps, as well as a good chair, but then too many hours sitting will undo a lot of the benefit of yoga. I should probably set a timer to remind myself to do it more instead of waiting for discomfort to remind me.

  8. Timely post Maria,

    Been trying the methods you put out here. Very useful for those of us who’ve become stuck to the computer longer than they should. Thank goodness, I’ve been keeping a fairly active routine and have taken some breaks off during the evening to go for a run.

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