8 Ergonomic Exercises you MUST Practice at Work Every Day

Ergonomic Exercises

This is a guest post by Jon Muller. If you'd like to guest post on this site, click here to read the guidelines.

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Nowadays, most people graduate from a college classroom straight to the cubicle desk without even being educated about ergonomic exercises. And while sitting for a few hours each day is not inherently damaging to one’s body, over time our bodies decline due to immobility and improper posture.

In fact, according to a study run through the Huffington Post, the mortality rate of those who, on average, spend 6.5 hours sitting and watching television per day had a 61% greater risk of premature death. Immobility and poor posture also result in muscle deterioration, heart disease, spinal disc damage, and poor blood circulation, among others.

Even simple ergonomic exercises and micro movements sprinkled throughout your working hours can have a positive impact for your health over time. The following are 8 excellent ergonomic exercises you can practice right in your office or cubicle.

8 Simple Ergonomic Exercises

Arm Circles

Arm Circles
Arm Circles

Arm Circles help to relieve the tension in your shoulders, especially after long bouts of typing, and help to reinvigorate the blood flow.

  • 1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward, with your arms at your sides.
  • 2. Raise your arms out to the side, with your palms facing downwards.
  • 3. Slowly circle your arms clockwise five times.
  • 4. Slowly circle your arms counterclockwise five times.
  • 5. Return your arms to the starting position and lower back to your sides.

Shoulder and Chest Stretch

Shoulder and Chest Stretch
Shoulder and Chest Stretch

The Shoulder and Chest Stretch helps to release any muscle stiffness in your chest and shoulders and help to increase blood flow to the area.

  • 1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward, with your arms at your sides.
  • 2. Slowly raise your arms upwards and back.
  • 3. Clasp your hands together behind your back.
  • 4. Gently pull your hands down towards the ground until you feel a stretch.
  • 5. Hold the stretch for ten seconds and then release back to the starting position.

Shoulder and Upper Arm Stretch

Shoulder and Upper Arm Stretch
Shoulder and Upper Arm Stretch

The Shoulder and Upper Arm Stretch is perfect after a long day of sitting and helps to correct improper posture.

  • 1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward, with your arms at your sides.
  • 2. Grab one upper arm with the opposing hand.
  • 3. Gently pull the arm across your chest until you feel a stretch.
  • 4. Hold for ten seconds.
  • 5. Lower the hand back down to your side.
  • 6. Repeat on the other side for another ten second hold.

Low-Back Relief Stretch

Low Back Relief Stretch
Low Back Relief Stretch

The Low-Back Relief stretch is perfect after a long day of sitting and helps to release tension along the entire spine.

  • 1. Begin with your feet hip-width apart and facing forward.
  • 2. Place your hands on your low back.
  • 3. Lean back into your hands while tipping your head and shoulders back.
  • 4. Hold the stretch for ten seconds.
  • 5. Return to the starting position.

Lateral Trunk Stretch

Lateral Trunk Stretch
Lateral Trunk Stretch

Sitting all day can be very taxing for your core and back. The Lateral Trunk Stretch is fantastic for alleviating tension along the obliques and spinal cord.

  • 1. Begin by standing forward with your hands at your sides.
  • 2. Slowly raise your right arm towards the ceiling and above your head.
  • 3. Gently bend towards the left until you feel a stretch along your right rib cage.
  • 4. Hold the stretch for ten seconds.
  • 5. Repeat on the other side.
  • 6. Return back to the starting position.

Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring Stretch
Hamstring Stretch

Sitting in an office chair for an entire workday can make the legs numb and decrease blood flow to the area. The Hamstring Stretch can help to reinstate blood flow to the area.

  • 1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward, with your feet hip-width apart.
  • 2. Place one foot in front of you with the heel in the ground and toes pointed upward.
  • 3. Slowly bend forward at the waist until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg.
  • 4. Hold for up to ten seconds.
  • 5. Repeat on the other side.

Quadricep Stretch

Quadricep Stretch
Quadricep Stretch

Much like the hamstring stretch, the quadricep stretch can help to return blood flow back to the muscle after a long day of sitting.

  • 1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward, with your feet hip-width apart.
  • 2. Grab the ankle of your right foot; support your weight on a chair if needed.
  • 3. Gently pull the heel of your right foot towards your butt and hold for ten seconds.
  • 4. Lower the foot back down to the ground and repeat on the other side.

Calf Stretch

Calf Stretch
Calf Stretch

Though most people overlook the calves, they can become just as tight as the hamstrings and quadriceps when sitting all day. The Calf Stretch is a great way to help alleviate muscle tension.

  • 1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward, with your feet together.
  • 2. Step backwards with the right foot and allow the left knee to bend.
  • 3. Let the right heel stay on the ground.
  • 4. Bend slightly at the waist and lean into the front foot for up to ten seconds.
  • 5. Release and repeat on the other side.

Striving for a more Healthy Workplace

Incorporating some simple stretches and ergonomic exercises can really go a long way towards feeling better, both in the short and long term. Standing periodically at work also helps ensure better blood circulation and alertness. Don’t let the hindrances of your day job impact your everyday life, and ultimately your health.

If you're interested, there are a multitude of office ergonomic products you can utilize to keep you safe in your own office environment. They run the gamut including office chair cushions, back supports, ergonomic office chairs, foot rests, keyboard and mouse wrist rests and supports, and many other ergonomically-developed products.

If you want to read more about Office Ergonomics check out this Office Ergonomics 101 article.

Author Bio: This article was written by Jon Muller, founder of Ergonomic Trends where he writes about ergonomics, office productivity, and the best ergonomic products for your health.

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