HEALTH: Stretching Out Stress at Work

Corporate hours find most of us primarily spending our time either slouching over our computers, our smart phones, or driving to work or client sites. These activities as an everyday chore become part of our lifestyle without realizing the damage it can cause in the long run. Notwithstanding, most of us complain of aches and pain in the back, neck, hips and shoulders, and once these areas are affected, it can become difficult managing these wrenches and twinges. No amount of excuses given either due to compounding age or lack of time can reverse some of the bodily changes already impacted. But, a ‘stretch’ in time can save the woes. All you need is a wall or a chair

Hip Opener Stretch (Seated Stretch)

Advantage: The hips and lower back can get tight from too much sitting. The seated stretch can open both.

  1. Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet hip-width apart, directly under your knees.
  2. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee.
  3. Gently stretch forward.

Forward Fold (Calms the Mind)

Advantage: This stretch helps to undo the day long brain drain. This calms the mind as it opens the lower back.

  1. Stand facing a chair.
  2. Place your elbows in your hands.
  3. Rest your arms either on the back or seat of the chair. (Bend your knees if necessary.)
Low Back Release (Shakes off Tension on a chair)

Advantage: Takes the tension away from the lower back with a twist.

  1. Turn sideways in a chair.
  2. Hold the back of the chair with the arm closest to it.
  3. Gently twist the front of your body toward the back of the chair.
  4. Reach your other arm to the opposite knee or farther if you can manage it.
Open Shoulders

Advantage: It opens up the chest and shoulders and releases the impact of the forward slouch over the computer or the desk; also enables more air to enter the lungs.

  1. Sit up straight on the edge of your chair.
  2. Drop one arm to the side.
  3. With a straight back, raise the dropped arm over your head and lean to the opposite side.
  4. Switch sides and repeat.
  5. Stretch your arms behind you and hold the outside edges of the seat back.
  6. Push your chest out.

Wrist and Shoulder Release

Advantage: It releases the impact caused due to typing, texting and clicking of the mouse, in a simple, gentle stretch of the wrists and forearms.

For wrists:
  1. Extend your right arm, palm up.
  2. Gently pull your fingers down and back with your left hand.
  3. Switch hands and repeat.
For shoulders:
  1. Stretch your arms straight out and interlace your fingers.
  2. Turn your hands palms out.
  3. Gently raise your arms overhead and stretch.

Half Downward Dog

Advantage: A version of the well-known yoga pose offers a full body stretch that’s especially good for the hamstrings.

  1. Stand facing the back of your chair.
  2. Place your hands on the back of the chair.
  3. Step back as far as you can.
  4. Try to keep your arms and legs straight as you stretch your spine.

Shoulder Release

Advantage: Eases the shoulders that can get tight from hours of slouching over keyboards and or driving cars. This stretch follows the clock hour hands.

  1. Stand with your left shoulder next to a wall.
  2. Extend your left arm straight up, palm facing the wall.
  3. Move your arm down behind you slowly, as if you were going through each hour on a clock, 12 to 6.
  4. Turn and repeat with your right arm.

By Sangeeta Ghosh Dastidar