Three stretches you can do at your desk that will help you calm down

Give your body – and mind – a break with these simple stress-busting movements.

Photo: iStock

You have heard of the effects of what sitting can do:

• Decreases energy

• Slouches your posture

• Decreases circulation

• Increases risk of cardiovascular and heart disease

• Affects mental health and has been shown to increase depression rates

RELATED: How to improve your posture in one stretch

As a result of hours at desks we have become used to, our postures, and brain function are feeling the brunt of it. You may even notice feeling stressed out at times, purely because you have been so focused on your work or the computer for a prolonged period of time.

It’s time to stand up! By moving around you will let your mind have a break. You can also adjust the way you are sitting which can change the physiology of the body, too.

So, sit up taller, take a break, move your muscles around and get your circulation moving again.

All from your desk. Here’s how:

1. Chest opener (seated)

• Move to the front of your chair so you are sitting at the edge of it

• Rather than ‘tucking’ your pelvis under (where you will close into those organs and muscles), move the pelvis out (like you are creating a J shape) and sit up as tall as you can

• Move your feet under the chair slightly, where you feel like you are leaning forward slightly

• Draw in your abdominals and squeeze your glute muscles together

• Take a few deep breaths

• Gently open arms to sides, and rotate palms of hands up and down 10 times

RELATED: Can’t calm down? This easy stretch might help

2. Standing side stretch (standing)

• Stand in front of chair, feet and inner thighs pressing together

• Imagine a piece of string lifting the crown of your head, draw in abdominals

• Take 5 deep breaths

• Bring 1 arm up beside ear, as you continue to reach up, gently lean to opposite side

• Hold for 5 – 10 deep breaths squeezing legs and abs

• Repeat other side

3. Hip and back release (seated)

• Move forward towards edge of chair

• Cross right ankle over left knee

• Sitting tall, gently bring left hand around right knee, twisting your body to the right

• Move your right arm around and stay in the rotated pose for 10-15 deep breaths

• You should feel a nice stretch around hips, and across back which will also open out posture

Remember to take deep, slow breaths and focus on feeling the muscles move into that different position to charge your body with new energy and help you feel calmer. Take breaks from your desk at least every 45 – 60 minutes, and complete these 3 stretches every 30 – 45 minutes.

For more from Pilates instructor and wellbeing coach Vanessa Bartlett, head here.

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