Most of us know that sitting for long periods can be bad for our health. It can contribute to just about every physical health problem; including obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer1. It can even affect your mental health. With most desk jobs leading to people sitting for hours at a time, it can be tough to find ways to get up and move throughout the day. Building in standing breaks is a good start, but you can really enhance the health benefits of these breaks with a few yoga stretches. Yoga can help to improve concentration and reduce tension or stress2. Try out one of these quick stretching exercises the next time you need a break from sitting during the day:
- Neck Circles: Relax your neck muscles by simply circling your nose around an imaginary clock in front of you. Circle your nose clockwise a few times then counterclockwise.
- Shoulder Rolls: Relieve tension in your shoulders by standing up tall and drawing circles with your elbows in both a forward and backward direction.
- Side Bend: Open up your chest and improve breathing by standing tall and lifting your right arm up and over to your left. Then, lift your left arm up and over to your right.
- Seated Child’s Pose: Loosen a tight lower back by leaning forward in your chair and resting your forearms on your thighs. Tuck your chin in to stretch your spine. Be sure to inhale and exhale deeply at least three to five times when completing each exercise.
Experts advise that you should stand or move around your desk for one to three minutes, every 30 minutes. You can change up these standing breaks with the stretches above, standing while you talk, or setting a simple alarm to stand to remind yourself to take a break.
1 Harvard Health Blog. J Corliss. Too Much Sitting Linked to Heart Disease, Diabetes, Premature Death.
2 Psychology Today. D Khoshaba. Take a Stand for Yoga Today.