Salvation for the working stiff

Teresa Casey illustrates a wrist flex at Anytime Fitness in Medford. Julia Moore photoJulia Moore

Having to sit for eight or more hours a day sure can take a toll on muscles, tendons and joints as we hunch, bunch and use everything BUT good posture to read computer screens and perform close-up work.

It is well worth taking a few moments several times each day to give your mind, eyes and body a much needed break.

Below are a few stretches that will rejuvenate and relieve those tense, overstrained muscles. Before you begin, remove your shoes and wiggle your toes. Keep your back straight but relaxed, abdominal muscles firm, and don't forget to breathe.

Neck rolls

1. Close your eyes and lower your chin to your chest.

2. Begin to circle your neck slowly, taking the right ear to the right shoulder, the head back then the left ear to the left shoulder.

3. Keep shoulders relaxed and do not hurry through areas of tightness.

4. Do three to five rolls, then switch directions and do another three to five rolls.

Seated cat stretch

1. Start with both feet flat on the floor.

2. Place a hand on each knee.

3. On an inhale, arch the back and look up toward the ceiling.

4. On the exhale, round the spine and let the head drop forward.

5. Repeat for three to five breaths.

Forward bend

1. Push your chair away from your desk and place both feet on the floor.

2. Interlace fingers behind your back. Arms should be straight.

3. Bending at the waist, bring interlaced hands over your back.

4. Rest your chest on your thighs and relax the neck.

5. Repeat three to five times.

Seated spinal twist

1. Turn so you are sitting sideways in a chair. Keep feet flat on the floor.

2. Gently twist toward the back of the chair, holding the back with both hands.

3. Turn the other way and repeat three times to each side.

Wrist flex

1. From a standing position, turn your hands so wrists face your computer and fingers face the front edge of the desk.

2. Gently lean into wrists and flatten palms as much as possible. Repeat three times.

3. If this stretch causes pain, stop and check with a health care professional.

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