You have probably heard of how dangerous it can be to sit for hours at a time on an airplane or in the car, but sitting at your desk all day at work can make you feel as stiff as if you just stepped off a red-eye from Japan.
Recently, a number of studies have shown how leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses. Even if you hit the gym after work, sitting at a desk for eight or more hours a day (especially when you're stressed out) can take its toll on your muscles. Here are some ways to stretch it out while sitting in your office chair (without attracting too much attention).
Neck. Sitting straight in your chair (or standing), tilt your head to one side until you feel a mild stretch on the other side of your neck. Pull gently with your hand to deepen the stretch, keeping your shoulders relaxed. Hold for 30 seconds on each side.
To stretch the back of your neck, tuck your chin to your chest and slowly turn your head from left to right. Never make complete circles, as this could strain your spine and neck, according to Real Simple Magazine.
Shoulders. Try to roll your shoulders in the largest circles possible without scrunching them up too much for the best stretch. Sit up straight, keeping your head and neck stable, and roll your shoulders forward, up and back, creating a full circle. Roll them 10 times forward and 10 times backward to loosen everything up.
Feet. Yes, even your feet need attention! While sitting, cross one ankle over the other knee and slowly circle your foot clockwise 20 times, then counter clockwise 20 times.
Chest. This one you might want to do during your bathroom break. Raise your hands and hold your elbows at shoulder level and bend them in a 90 degree angle with your fingertips pointed up. Keep your spine straight and press your arms back to feel a stretch across your chest. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then repeat as much as you feel necessary.
Arms. This classic stretch is perfect for after you have finished typing up that big report. Hold your right hand out in front of you, palm facing forward, then pull your fingers back toward you with your left hand. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other arm.
You might think that you only need to stretch your muscles after putting lots of stress on them at the gym or during another workout, but even simple tasks like typing or writing can put stress on your body. Try to do these stretches three times during the work day for best results. You might even start an office trend!