#FITNESS
9 Easy Stretches To Beat The WFH Aches

Get off that chair and stretch those muscles!

By Steve Thio      15 June 2021

With more of us getting used to the work from home routine, getting stiff arms, backs and legs while sitting at the desk all day would have become a problem. Unless you have a proper workstation with an ergonomic desk and chair, you would probably be feeling physically stiff and tight after spending hours sitting hunched at your living room table and on your dining chair.

But before you go shopping for furniture to create your ideal ergonomic-friendly WFH station, try these simple stretches to ease your stiff muscles and help improve your sitting posture:

1. For Neck And Shoulders

If a stiff neck is a constant bugbear from sitting at your desk for hours, this simple stretch will help ease the muscles and relax your stiff shoulders.

– Stand facing a wall with your feet and hips apart.
– With a bent arm, place your hand slightly above your shoulder line.
– Lower your chin towards your opposite shoulder and hold the position for 20 seconds.
– Repeat the movement on the other side.
– Do 3 sets of this.

2. Heres another stretch for the neck and shoulders you can do without leaving your seat!

– Sit with a straight posture against the back of your seat.
– Keep your feet flat on the ground with knees at 90 degrees.
– Raise your arms, bend them above your head and clasp the elbows.
– Stretch your arms backwards and lift your chest upwards.
– Hold the pose for about 10 seconds. Relax and repeat.

3. For Stiff Arms

After typing for hours in the same sitting position, do the Arm Circle Stretch to get your blood circulating again in your stiff arms.

– Stand straight up.
– Extend your arms and swing them in large circles.
– Do a set backwards (count of 8) and another set forwards (count of 8).
– Repeat for both arms.

4. For The Wrists

Non-stop typing for hours can leave you with strained or inflamed wrist muscles. These simple stretches will help.

– While sitting extend your arms in front of you with the palms facing up.
– Using your other hand, pull your fingers down gently towards your body.
– At the maximum stretch, hold for about 15 seconds.
– Relax and repeat with your other arm and wrist.

* You can repeat this stretch in the opposite direction with the palms facing the floor and pulling the fingers upwards towards your body.

5. Arm Prayer Stretch

– Place your palms together in a prayer pose.
– Make sure to keep your arms bent at right angles while your palms are together.
– Press the palms flat together and slowly move them downwards slightly for a better stretch.
– Hold for 10-15 seconds. Relax and repeat.

6. For Hunched Shoulders

If you tend to slouch at the desk, the Reverse Shoulder Stretch will help ease your tight shoulders.

– Stand and stretch your arms behind your back.
– Clasp your hands together while extending your arms.
– Raise your arms and hold the pose for about 20 seconds.
– Relax and repeat.

7. Cross Body Stretch

– Sit or stand straight.
– Extend and stretch one arm across your chest horizontally.
– Bend your other arm and place it at the forearm of your extended arm.
– Bring your extended arm towards the body.
– Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds.
– Repeat for the other side.

8. For Back Pain

The Sphinx Stretch is the easiest stretch to help with your stiff and aching back.

– Stretch out face down on the floor.
-Place your arms beside your body, with your hands next to the shoulders.
– Bend your arms at right angles and raise the upper half of your body.
– Raise your body as perpendicular as you can without raising your hips.
– Remain in this pose for 30 seconds.
– Relax and repeat.

9. For A Strained Back And Core Muscles

The Glute Bridge Stretch is great to strengthen your core and abdominal muscles, and release the strain of your back from sitting for too long.

– Lay face up on the floor with arms by your side.
– Raise your knees up with your feet flat on the ground. Keep your legs and hips apart.
– Without lifting your upper shoulders and neck, lift only your body and hips.
– Your shoulders, hips and knees should form a straight inclined line.
– Hold the pose for about 30 seconds then relax. Repeat.

For more information, go to: Stretches for Wrists and Hands, 10 Easy Stretches That’ll Help Make WFH A Little Bit Better, These Are the Best Stretches to Send WFH Aches and Pains Packing, 6 easy stretches you can do in your home office

Here are some other useful WFH links:
6 Essential Tips For Your WFH Station
8 Ways To Be More WFH Efficient
How To Keep Awake At Home When You WFH
8 Tips For Stylish WFH Fashion

Note: Do not attempt any of the suggested actions or instruction in this article without first consulting with a medical professional. 

Share your favourite ways to stretch at magnsman@sph.com.sg!

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