Take out 10 minutes in your day to do these yoga stretches. You’ll thank us later!
By Pavitra Sampath
You’ve pulled an all-nighter at work and have been slouched over, staring at your computer screen throughout those painfully long hours. The pain down your back, your stiff wrists and aching head beg you to stop and take a break. And it’s time you listened to your body. Take out 10 minutes and do these quick exercises that will help relieve the pain and stiffness. In fact, we suggest you make it a point to set aside 10 minutes every day for these simple exercises. They aren’t elaborate, do not require props and can be done in the comfort of your office or cubicle. Do them and you’ll be thanking us later.
Area targeted: Neck
Slouching over your computer screen, phone or tablet puts immense strain on your neck, making your head almost four times heavier than it actually is. This excess downward force exerts immense strainon the muscles at the base of your skill, neck and right down your spine. Therefore caring for your neck is essential and here’s something that will help.
Exercise:Sit up straight in your chair and make sure your back is pushed against the backrest of your chair. Now loosen your shoulders and hold the seat of your chair with your left hand. Next, breathe in and as you exhale gently move your head sideways towards your right shoulder. You should feel a stretch along the left side of your neck. Make sure you do not raise your shoulders as you lower you head. Hold this position for at least five breaths and come back to where you started. Repeat this for the right side as well.
If you suffer from any neck or spine related ailments, do not do this exercise without consulting your physician.
Area targeted: Wrists
Typing all those mails and reports can really take a toll on your wrists. Infact studies have shown a marked increase in the number of people suffering from wrist-related conditions like carpel tunnel syndrome. Therefore it is essential to stretch out those tiny muscles in your wrists.
Exercise:Bend your right arm at the elbow and place it on your desk. Now, extend your fingers outwards, palm side up, and use your left hand to press your entire hand (palm and fingers) towards your table. You should feel a stretch down your right wrist. Do the same thing in the other direction, palm side down, pressing your palm and fingers towards your wrist. Repeat the process with your other hand.
Do not over do this exercise. It is only meant to stretch the muscles in your wrist. If you feel any kind of pain or discomfort,stop the stretch.
Area targeted: Lower back and thighs
This bend stretches the muscles inyour lower back and thighs, and helps relieve the pain and discomfort that comes from sitting all day.
Exercise: Get up and step away from your desk. Now bend at your waist so that you can touch your toes with your fingers (it might not be possible at the first try, but doing this stretch frequently will get you there). Now, sway your upper body gently from side to side. Hold this position for about five to six breaths and slowly rise back up to the upright position. Doing this exercise one a day is more than enough to help relieve any pain you might be experiencing.
Area targeted: Shoulders
Your shoulders are probably the most abused joints in your body, especially when a large part of your day involves sitting and working at a desk.This is where these two simple exercises come in handy.
Exercise:The first exercise is fairly simple. Sit on your chair with your back against the backrest of your chair. Now allow your shoulders to rest in the most comfortable position. Take a breath in and as you exhale raise your right shoulder to your right ear. Hold it there for a few seconds and then move it backwards and downwards (in a circular motion), back to its normal position. Repeat this motion a few times and then move on to your other shoulder.
The second exercise is a great way to relieve the pain between your shoulder blades that is common after a long day of slouching over your laptop. Get up and step away from your desk. Now bend at your waist and place your hands on your desk, so that your palms are facing downwards. Your torso should be lengthened and parallel to the floor. Now push your head downwards between your outstretched hands such that your back is stretched out. You should feel the stretch along your entire back and sides.
Area targeted: The mind
We’ve all had those days when we’ve thought a blood vessel might pop because of all the stress. Next time a situation like that arises, take a few minutes off to do this quick exercise to reorganise your thoughts.
But simply taking a few minutes off to breathe in deep and reorganize your thoughts might be just what you need.
Exercise: Sit up straight in your chair, place your feet flat on the floor and your hands on your lap,with your palms facing upwards. Then close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold your breath for about five counts and breathe out slowly so that you empty your lungs. Every time you breathe out, imagine that you’re releasing the stress from within with that breath. Repeat this process for about 10 to 15 breaths making sure your mind is blank and you do not allow any thoughts enter your mind.