Office Worker's Guide to Stretching and Ergonomics

Office Worker’s Guide to Stretching and Ergonomics

Do you spend your 40-hour work week tied to a desk and chair? If so you’re like many Americans. The downfall of computer based work is the compromise it subjects the body to. We’ve all seen studies and articles in the news on the negative cardiovascular impact prolonged sitting can have, but what about the musculoskeletal compromise?

Did you know prolonged sitting can shorten your hamstrings and hip flexors, contribute to neck and low back pain, and even diminish core strength? Without frequent standing/walking breaks, we subject ourselves to significant postural changes and medical issues.

Here are a few tips and exercises for the office worker to maintain a healthy body along with their exercised mind:

Proper Sitting Ergonomics: your ankles should be in neutral with feet flat on the floor, knees bent at 90 degrees, hips bent at 90 degrees, trunk in neutral, shoulders in neutral, elbows bent at 90 degrees resting on armrests, wrists in neutral with keyboard directly underneath the hands, and monitor at eye level so your neck remains neutral and relaxed.

Breaks: It is recommended to try to take 5-10 minutes every hour to get up, stretch, and move your body.

1) Seated Hamstring Stretch

Perform 3 per side, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

2) Seated Thoracic Rotation Stretch

Perform 10 per side, holding each stretch for 5 seconds.

3) Upper Trapezius Stretch

Perform 3 per side, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

4) Levator Scapulae Stretch

Perform 3 per side, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

5) Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Perform 3 per side, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.

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Want to try out these stretches? You can download a printable version here!

As always, if these exercises increase your pain at all, or if they don’t improve your symptoms after a few days, you will probably benefit from a 1-on-1 evaluation with a physical therapist.