Stretch for Success

Many people spend hours at their desk every day, and being sedentary for hours can have a negative impact on the body.

"People who sit at their computers for hours every day are in for serious medical problems," Sharon Hame, associate clinical professor in the University of California Los Angeles' department of orthopaedic surgery, told WebMD. "We're seeing more things than carpal tunnel; those pains go up the arm to the elbow and shoulder and then translate to the neck and back. It's a huge problem."

You don't need to get outside and go for a jog during the work day to sufficiently stretch your body. There are exercises that can be done in the office to help you stay limber throughout the day.

  • While on the phone, stand up and sit down repeatedly without using your hands. This will get your blood flowing.
  • Replace your chair with an exercise ball if you have the space. This will force you to use your muscles throughout the day and prevent you from becoming stiff.
  • Shrug your shoulders throughout the day to alleviate neck or shoulder pain. Shrugging can keep these muscles limber. You also can try shaking your head to keep your neck from locking up.
  • Finally, don't forget about your hands. If your job involves typing for hours at a time, it's important to take time to stretch your hands and wrists. Clench your fists and stretch your arms out. Make 10 circles with each arm, then shake out your hands. This will help your arms get the stretches they need to endure extended periods of computer use.

Taking these exercises into consideration can help prevent the stiff and tight muscles that are typically associated with sitting for long periods.