Sitting may be dangerous to your health. Studies find that people who spend more than half their day sitting are more than twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Whether you have a sedentary job and need to break up the day or if you are tired, sore, and fatigued from life, taking a few minutes to do some stretching may improve your health and help you feel better.
Take 5: Stretching at work
Here are five basic stretches that you can work into your work day without any special equipment18:
- Shoulder shrug
- Torso twist
- Neck roll
- Hands behind your head
- Wall or curb calf stretch
Hold that stretch
Static stretching, or holding a position for 15-30 seconds, is a safe way to improve flexibility and range of motion19. Staying in a stretch for longer than 30 seconds at a time offers no extra benefit. One session of stretching gives 90 minutes of lasting flexibility, but daily stretching gives lasting benefits10.
Cues for your routine
Not all habits are bad. Make stretching part of your day at home and at work by identify cues to help stretching become part of your normal routine. This can be as basic as stretching neck after hitting send on an email, or doing shoulder stretches while you wait for your coffee maker to finish. There are a variety of stretch break reminder apps that you can install on your computer or smart phone to automatically remind you to take a break14.
Whatever system you use, take the few minutes to stretch your body, clear your mind, and build the habit to maintain health and wellness.
Just One Small Thing
- Stretching your muscles before you go to bed helps relieve soreness and prepares you for a good night’s sleep.
- Lie down on your back in your bed, take your left knee and cross it over the right side of your body, allowing your gaze to face over your left shoulder.
- You can add extra resistance by putting your left hand on top of your right thigh.
- Hold for a few seconds. Return to your back.
- Repeat on the other side.
Kimberly Ward, RN, graduated from St. Michael’s College with a B.S. in biology. Kim worked in biomedical research before returning to school to pursue a career in nursing. She currently works as a RN at the Howard Center and is a student in the UVM Doctor of Nursing Practice program in the Adult and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner track.