Sitting for hours—and with a bad posture—is not the best thing for our bodies as we might get stiff muscles and body aches. These simple poses will give you the stretch you need at work.

We all know how busy Singapore can get, and work piling up does not help. Whether it is standard office hours, over time or even cramming in work on the weekends, sitting with a bad posture for an extended period of time does more harm than good to our body.

There is research associating extensive sitting with metabolism syndrome, heart attacks and high blood pressure. Thus, it is crucial to identify solutions for this health risk. These easy-to-do stretches at the office do not require much effort on your part—you can do them while still remaining seated—but they will surely make a difference for you and your desk habits.

In the video above, our yoga advisor Theresa Shan demonstrates how to do them.

Want detailed instructions on how long to hold each of the stretches and to do them stretches safely? Here they are!

#1 HIPS 

BENEFITS

This pose helps to release the tension in the hips from sitting too long. Prolonged sitting can cause tightness in the hips, which can result in pain in the lower back. It is important to release the hips frequently throughout the day, especially if you are someone who has tight hips.

If you are unsure whether you have tight hips or not, try sitting on the floor cross-legged. If it is difficult for you to sit this way, then your hips are tight.

METHOD

  1. Place ankle on knee
  2. Make sure to flex your foot, to ensure no pain in the knee is felt
  3. Keep your back straight
  4. Gently lean forward until you feel the stretch in your hip
  5. Hold for 3-5 breaths
  6. Repeat on the other side

#2 TWIST

BENEFITS

Twists are great to release any tension in your spine; it neutralises and ‘resets’ the spine. This can be done throughout the day to avoid your spine from getting ‘fused’ into the same hunched shape when sitting for long periods of time.

METHOD:

  1. Hold on to the hand rest and back rest
  2. Keep both of your hips on the seat
  3. Sit as straight as possible
  4. Use your arms to pull your upper body to twist
  5. Look over your shoulder to intensify the twist. If you have neck issues, you can keep looking forward to avoid strain to the neck
  6. Hold for 3-5 breaths
  7. Repeat on the other side

#3 TRICEPS 

BENEFITS

This stretch helps to loosen up the muscles of your triceps, shoulders and trapezius–the stress muscle that connects the shoulder to the neck. Repeat this throughout the day to minimise problems such as a stiff neck, frozen shoulder, and a hunched back. 

METHOD:

  1. Sit straight
  2. Reach one arm up to the ceiling
  3. Bend at the elbow and place your palm on your back
  4. With the other arm, reach to hold onto the elbow
  5. Pull downwards until you feel a stretch at the back of your bent arm as well as your shoulder
  6. To intensify the stretch, move your elbow behind the head as much as possible
  7. Then use the head to push back into the bent arm and lift the chest
  8. Hold for 3-5 breaths
  9. Repeat on the other side

#4 NECK

BENEFITS

This stretch is very effective for releasing tension from the trapezius muscle, commonly known as the ‘stress’ muscle. As we sit in front of the computer, there is a tendency to lift the shoulders up, and thus contract the trapezius muscle for long periods of time. Muscles are not built to be contracted all the time, so it is essential for all muscles to be released and relaxed at some stage.

METHOD:

  1. Sit straight
  2. With one hand hold the bottom of your seat
  3. Lean to the opposite side until your arm is fully straight
  4. Tilt your head to the side of the lean
  5. Place your free hand on your head and pull down gently
  6. Make sure to face forward, and do not make sudden movements while you are performing this pose
  7. Feel the stretch on the side of the neck from the back of the ear to the shoulder
  8. Make sure you do not feel any sharp pain
  9. Hold for 3-5 breaths
  10. Repeat on the other side