Have you ever noticed that as the day goes on you start to get closer and closer to your computer screen, rounding out your back and shoulders over the eight hours we spend staring at our screens and answer phone calls? At the end of the day, our back, neck, and shoulders are killing us, and we never seem to connect the two, but chances are, your posture at your desk and at work is part of what’s wearing down on your comfort level in your own skin.
Luckily enough, you don’t have to make time for a two-hour yoga class every day to enjoy the benefits of stretching — in fact, you don’t even have to leave your desk. There are several stretches you can take a few minutes every few hours, or whenever you feel the urge to move around a bit, and you can enjoy all of the benefits of stretching without taking too much time out of your workday.
Stretching can help boost your energy and your mood
Stretching helps increase blood flow around our body — which is very much needed when you spend hours sitting in an office chair. This increase in blood flow helps our body to feel more awake and energized, improving our ability to focus at work. If your shoulder and neck pain is distracting, the release of the tension in these muscles can only benefit you, as you start to work towards relief so you can focus on the tasks at hand.
Improved posture all around
When the muscles in your back, neck, and shoulders are tight from sitting all day, it can negatively affect your posture long-term. Having good posture at your desk is an important part of workplace ergonomics that is easily ignored, and stretching can help you get back to normal, rather than staying uncomfortably hunched over for the rest of the day.
Stretching will improve your mood — and your coworkers will thank you for it
It’s hard to stay focused and upbeat when our bodies are hurting and our muscles are tight. Spending a few minutes every hour stretching out our muscles can help relieve the pain and tension that bogs down our mood — and your coworkers will definitely be thanking you for it. Switch out that third cup of coffee for a tall glass of room temperature water for an added bonus and you’ll easily start to notice a difference in your mood and productivity within the first week.
It can help you at work even if you don’t sit at a desk
Not every full-time job requires you to sit at a desk all day, and there are still plenty of benefits for stretching for these jobs, too. If you’re on your feet all day or even lift boxes or other objects, stretching is as important in the workplace as it is before practicing any sport. In fact, stretching has been known to reduce your chance of injury in the workplace.