10-Minute Office Stretch Break

James Fowler Physical TherapyCorporate Wellness, Stretches & Warm-UpsLeave a Comment

It’s 12:30 pm, and you have been sitting for 3 hours. Your body is not only hungry for a satisfying meal, but it’s also hungry for movement. It’s time to move your body. Take ten, with this 10-minute stretch break that works your body from the ground up!

(6) IStockphoto.com

(6) IStockphoto.com

Warm Up-1 minute

We begin our stretching with a small lateral walk to increase the heart rate slightly. You can make this movement more of a deeper squat or you can walk laterally quickly in either direction.

  1. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart with your toes forward. (1)
  2. Fold at your hips and let the knees bend, moving your butt back, lower your body into a mini squat keeping your knees over your ankles.
  3. Bend and hold your arms in front of your body. From this position, take a sideways step with your left leg; then take a step to the left with your right leg to return to the original stance.
  4.  Keep your back aligned, chest lifted and your eyes looking forward.
  5. Quicken your steps as you get used to the movement. Repeat for 10 steps in one direction and then reverse the direction.

Feet – 1 minute

Supine or standing dorsiflexions and plantar flexions of the foot can bring blood flow to our lower extremities.
In the supine version of this, the working leg is lifted and held by the arms with the other leg bent or straight. In the standing version, hold on to your desk with both hands and outstretch the working leg to the side with the other leg standing. (2)

  1. Circle the foot of the working leg 20 times slowly and deliberately one direction; then 20 times in opposite direction.
  2. After you finish with circles, pull the toes towards your shin to flex; then point the foot forward. Repeat motion 20 times.
  3. Switch legs and repeat to the other side maintaining the core if standing.

Legs/Hips – 3 minutes

Sitting for an extended period of time can cause tension in the hip flexors and lower back. The squat stretch can help alleviate some of this tension. (3)

  1. Wrap your hands around a pole or a desk leg.
  2. Slowly lower your body into a squat position, keeping your back long and front of your hips soft. Let your weight drop down through your heels into the floor.
  3. Keep your heels in contact with the ground and avoid any arching in your low back.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
(3) James Fowler Physical Therapy

(3) James Fowler Physical Therapy

Arms – 2 minutes

Moving upwards towards the head on our stretch break, we get to the shoulders and arms. This over the head movement can liven up the muscles in this area.

  1. Stand with legs shoulder-width apart.
  2. Let arms hang down at each side.
  3. Interlock fingers with palms facing down.
  4. Keeping fingers interlocked, raise arms up and stretch them over the head with the palms facing toward the ceiling. (4)

You also can modify the stretch to go parallel to the floor and not take the arms all the way up above the head.

Head/Neck – 2 minutes

Find a corner in your office and claim it for the last 2 minutes of our break. Open the chest with this corner stretch. (5)

  1. Stand two feet back from the corner facing in.
  2. Feet together.
  3. Place forearms on each wall, with elbows little below shoulder height.
  4. Lean in as far as possible without pain.
  5. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds.

Take ten! At work, at home, or anywhere to revitalize and wake up your muscles.


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