By RUTH WOUDSTRA
As many of us return to our desks in the new year, it is an ideal time to engage in healthy stretching habits
to maintain a sense of that holiday relaxation.
Stress tends to cause your muscles to contract, causing tension and a feeling of unease. Loosening these
tight muscles not only increase blood flow, but release endorphins and can create a feeling of tranquility
during your work day.
How do you naturally stretch when you are sitting at your desk? Think about the areas of your body that
need attention after a long stint at the computer. It might be your neck and shoulders, your lower back, or
When we feel tension in certain areas, it is the body’s way of reminding us to take a break. Rubbing your
palms together and placing them over your eyes has a very soothing effect. You can release your hands
and, keeping your eyes closed, take a few breaths and listen to what your body needs. It may be to get up
and walk around or to stretch a bit.
If you are unsure about what to stretch, you can gently lower your right ear towards your right shoulder
and repeating this stretch to the left. Come out of the stretch if it hurts as pain is counter-intuitive to
healing. When we force, we are unable to heal.
Tight shoulders can be relieved by a variety of stretches involving interlacing the fingers behind the back.
You can point your fists towards the ground, or raise them up as high as feels comfortable, even bringing
them to the top of your back rest.
Stiff wrists from typing can be relieved by simply rotating them or bending them forwards and backwards
with arms outstretched.
As for your lower back, you can do a standing ‘cat cow’ by placing your hands just above the knees and
arching and rounding the back at a pace that feels comfortable. And finally, any form of balancing, such a
standing on one leg, is also great for concentration.
Consistent stretches don’t have too take up too much of your time, but will give you the energy boost you
may need to continue with your working day.