This simple 5 minute office workout for flexibility will loosen the muscles of your neck, back, and shoulders and help to relieve tension. When done regularly, the exercises will improve your flexibility, which is an important and sometimes overlooked fitness parameter.
Many of us spend hours every day bent over a computer keyboard. Over time, this results in poor posture with rounded shoulders and tight neck muscles.
With the pandemic forcing some of us to work from home, we may make do with using a dining chair and table that are the wrong height. This can cause our necks, backs, and shoulders to not only feel stiff but also ache. Many people who sit for extended periods also experience hip pain, commonly referred to as “dead butt” syndrome.
Apart from the discomfort aching muscles cause, pain is a distraction that can interfere with productivity.
Below, you will find a short flexibility workout comprising stretching exercises that will help to alleviate your aches and pains. They will also improve your flexibility and productivity.
You don’t need an office job to do the 5 minute office workout. It will also help people who spend hours on the road clutching a car steering wheel or cradling a phone in the crook of their neck.
This flexibility workout will be equally valuable for those whose job involves bending forward in the same position for a long time and anyone with sore, stiff necks, shoulders, backs, and hips caused by tension.
Before you start
Before starting the workout, check that you are sitting correctly and that your chair is the right height for your desk.
While seated in your chair, your feet should be flat on the floor, and your knees level with or a little lower than hip height.
Your chair’s backrest should offer good back support. For most people, reclining the seat to a 10 or 15-degree angle will allow this.
The curve of your lower back should fit against the curve of the backrest. Shorter people may find it helps to place a small pillow behind their back.
Sit with your chair pulled close to your desk. Your computer should be approximately an arm’s length distance from you, with the top of the monitor 2″ or 3″ above eye level.
Center the keyboard in front of you so that you aren’t constantly twisting to one side.
Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows just above your desk at an angle of around 90 degrees.
Keep the items you reach for often in a convenient position so that you don’t have to lean across the desk constantly.
Be sure to take a break from typing every 10 minutes or so to flex your hands, fingers, and wrists, roll your shoulders, and gently and slowly rotate your neck.
Try to stand and stretch every 30 minutes or so. And, if possible, walk up and down your office or around your desk for 20 to 30 seconds.
To give your eyes a break, look into the distance for twenty seconds every 20 to 30 minutes.
Now, for the 5 minute office workout!
5 Minute Office Workout Stretching Exercises
Do each of the following stretching exercises for 60 seconds, making 5 minutes in total.
The first four exercises target the neck, shoulders, and back. The last one focuses on the outer hips and glutes.
For the best result, do the 5 minute office workout for flexibility every day, or more often if needed.
NB: The movements below should not cause pain at any time. If they do, stop.
1) Sit up straight on a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor.
2) Place your right hand on top of your head above your left ear with your fingers pointing downwards.
3) With your shoulders down and relaxed, use the weight of your right arm to gently move your head towards your right shoulder.
4) Hold this position for 30 seconds before lowering your arm and slowly lifting your head.
5) Repeat the above movements, targeting the left side of your neck.
Seated Arm Extensions:
1) Sit slightly forward in your chair with your feet flat on the floor.
2) Extend your arms straight up above your shoulders and head, then gently lean back.
3) Hold this position for 10 seconds before straightening your back momentarily.
4) Lean back again for 10 seconds, a little further if possible. Repeat.
5) Lower your arms to your lap, then repeat the entire sequence once more.
1) Sit on your chair with your knees together and your feet flat on the floor.
2) Take a deep breath, then slowly let it out as you bend forward, round your shoulders, and focus on curving your spine from top to bottom, one vertebra at a time.
3) At the same time, allow your arms to hang loosely by your sides towards the floor.
4) Hold this position for 30 seconds, allowing gravity to elongate your spine.
5) Repeat the above movements once.
Seated Chest Stretches:
1) Sit on the edge of your chair with your knees together, hands on your knees, and feet flat on the floor.
2) With your left hand resting on your left knee, rotate your torso to the right, lift your right arm to chest height, and extend it behind you with your thumb pointing upwards. At this point, you should be looking over your right shoulder.
3) Hold this position for 30 seconds.
4) Slowly return to your starting position, bringing your right arm to rest on your right knee.
5) Repeat the above movements once, working your left side.
Seated Figure-Four Stretches:
1) Sit up straight on the edge of your chair.
2) With your right foot pressed into the floor, lift and bend your left leg to bring your left ankle across the top of your right knee.
3) Hold this position for 30 seconds, gently pushing down on your left knee as you lean your hips forward.
4) Repeat the above movements once to work your left leg.
5 Minute Office Workout for Flexibility Conclusion
This 5 Minute office workout is quick and easy to do, and it will go a long way towards helping you prevent or ease muscle aches and tension caused by sitting for extended periods. It will also help improve your posture so you will look and feel better.
Over time, stretching exercises will improve your flexibility and range of motion. As a result, your functional fitness will improve, making it easier to perform tasks such as lifting bags of groceries, removing items from high shelves, bending to tie your shoelaces, and looking over your shoulder to reverse your car.
When combined with resistance training, stretching exercises can also improve your strength, eliminate muscular imbalances, and reduce the likelihood of injuries caused by physical activities such as sport.
A yoga or balance ball chair can also help alleviate back, neck, and shoulder pain. I’ve been using a Gaiam Classic Balance Ball Chair for several years, and I will never go back to a regular office chair. If you’d like to read a review, please click on the previous link and scroll down to the last review.
Or click here if you’d like to read about the Top 10 Benefits of Yoga Ball Chairs.