The Importance of Stretching Throughout the Day
Exercise is often something we view as a chore to check off our daily list of to-dos. We might limit it in our minds to cardio or weightlifting, something done in 30- or 60-minute increments – or not at all if we really dread it.
But the truth is, every little bit of movement we add into our days can be beneficial – especially as we incorporate motion and stretching into workdays in traditionally sedentary office settings.
Why Does Moving and Stretching at Work Matter?
On average, civilian workers spent 43.6 percent of the workday sitting, according to a United States Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. Sitting at our desk or conference tables allows our legs to rest, which can be good for a time – but not for an ongoing healthy lifestyle.
If your job involves a substantial amount of time sitting, it’s important to maintain good posture to keep your joints, spine, and cardiovascular system in excellent shape. Even hitting the gym daily can’t sufficiently counteract all those sedentary hours.
The right desk chair should match the natural curvature of the spine. People tend to slump into sloth-like positions while seated, so the ideal ergonomic chair also includes an adjustable back and armrests, and a footrest – all to help keep the body aligned and supported when reclining occurs. Having the right types of seating will help to promote movement and good posture.
Sitting – and standing and moving – with the correct alignment can help to improve blood flow, keep nerves and blood vessels healthy, and support muscles, ligaments, and tendons. People with good posture as a habit are less likely to endure related back and neck pain.
Taking time to stretch during your workday will allow you to maintain flexibility, mobility, and independence for your lifetime. Stretching needs to occur daily to keep our muscles strong and healthy.
Sitting in a chair at work leads to tight hamstrings in the back of our thighs, which can make it more difficult to extend your leg or straighten your knee. Those difficulties can inhibit walking as well as your ability to use muscles for more strenuous activities. Tight muscles are more likely to get damaged from suddenly being stretched the next time you play pickleball or chase your children or grandchildren in the backyard or at the playground. Injured muscles may not possess enough strength the support joints, which can result in injuries.
What Can I Do?
If you’ve never considered stretching at work, knowing where and how to start may feel overwhelming. Start by focusing on finding stretches that target areas of your body that are critical for mobility, such as your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and quadriceps in the front of the thigh.
For example, stretch your hamstrings by sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Reach both hands down your legs until you feel a sensation and hold for 30 seconds. Back, neck, and shoulder stretches are also great to incorporate. You may also want to find a local physical therapist who can assess your muscle strength and create a stretching schedule for your individual needs.
Standing at a desk while working has become more common than ever, because it is an effective way to allow office workers to reset their posture and work different muscle groups than when seated. Furniture Soup has sit-to-stand desks with adjustable heights and height-adjustable conference tables for the office and other companies to encourage employees to engage in movement and proper alignment for optimal health. We can help you decide on the right sit-to-stand desks for your team and offer chair mats to pair with the sit-to-stand desk setups.
Walking throughout the workday is another solid tactic to achieve top physical and mental health. How can you fit in more walking? Park in the spaces furthest from the building so you get extra steps in at the start and finish of the day. Take a walk with a colleague during your lunch break. Schedule in a few brief, brisk walks throughout the day. If you have a long phone call, consider walking and talking.
The more bouts of physical activity you can sprinkle in throughout the workday and beyond, the better. A 2016 study in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity revealed that even just a few minutes of walking around improved employees’ mood, decreased fatigue, and reduced food cravings.
Reaching a Cumulative Effect
By walking, moving, and stretching at work, you’ll positively impact your energy levels and overall wellbeing – without negatively impacting cognitive performance or productivity. Furniture Soup is here to help if you’re looking for office chairs, conference tables, and other office furniture conducive to an active workplace culture. Our team is passionate about working with companies to create visions and turn them into realities.
Call us at 610-926-8700 or contact us today. We can help you find what you want – or figure out what they may be!