Stay in Shape While You Stay Busy: 5 Computer and Desk Stretches for New Digital Workers

Try these computer and desk stretches to battle stress and weight gain while working remotely

If you’re a remote professional trying to earn the trust of your employer, it’s easy to get so caught up in your new workflow and routine that you neglect your own well-being. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the day, however, is paramount for both your productivity and your happiness: It will help in reducing stress and keeping that extra weight off. Each will pile up quickly when you sit snacking and staring at a computer all day long, trust me!

So, how do you combat these tendencies while on the clock?

First and foremost, even if you’re a new citizen of Remote Nation©, you have to push back against the perception that you’re available all of the time just because you’re connected to the Internet and utilize technologies at home. This is particularly important for digital workers in an international context, when it feels like company business is cycling nonstop. All onsite employees take lunch and other periodic breaks throughout the day – you should, too! Use this time for things like breakfast – preferably not at your desk, which goes for all meals – walking around the block, yoga, stepping out for some fresh air, meditation, scheduled snacks, and computer and desk stretches.  And don’t forget about healthy snacking. There’s no need to gain the “Freshman 15” in your remote position. Remembering to eat good-for-you meals and snacks throughout the day will keep you satisfied and energized.


5 Computer and Desk Stretches for New Digital Workers

Perhaps the most crucial activity in warding off undue stress and weight is physical activity. Now, you might not be able to make it to the gym for a two-hour session with your personal trainer during the workday, but you can find time for quick-hitting computer and desk stretches that will keep you flexible, fit, and centered. Here are five of my favorites – let me know yours in the comments!

1. Overhead Elbow Bends

While maintaining good sitting posture, raise your right arm, bend it at the elbow, and simultaneously grasp your left scapula with your right hand and your right elbow with your left hand to create extension in your upper back, obliques, and right triceps. Repeat, alternating your left arm. Remember to breathe through all computer and desk stretches!

2. Shoulder Shrugs

Sitting at a computer builds up so much tension in the shoulders and neck during the workday. This stretch will help release it. Again, sit or stand with a straight spine, shoulders back. Breathe in, and raise your shoulders in a shrugging motion toward your ears. Hold the position for five seconds, then drop your shoulders while exhaling. I like to envision myself shrugging off all of the day’s worries with this one … so I do it fairly often!

3. Behind-the-Back Clasps

As with our previous two computer and desk stretches, you can either sit or stand for this one. I’m afraid there’s no delicate way to explain this one: I hope for your sake you’ve never been handcuffed, but place your arms behind your back as if you were about to be. Clasp your hands together, clenching your abdominal muscles and expanding your chest, and bring your scapulae together. Lift your chin, looking upward. This stretches much of your torso, back, neck, and arms.

4. Knee Hugs

Don’t play favorites with these hugs – alternate between your left and right legs! Interlock hands under each respective knee, bringing it up to your chest and holding it there. This keeps your limbs limber and makes those hamstrings and glutes feel appreciated.

5. Trunk Rotation

Sit on the floor or even in your desk chair, drape one bent leg over the other, and rotate your trunk (and head) in the opposite direction that the draped leg is facing. The trunk rotation is a great static stretch employed by many types of athletes that helps your hips and lower back, while addressing other areas, as well.

Computer and Desk Stretches for New Digital Workers: The Bottom Line

There are multiple studies showing how even moderate physical activity counteracts stress, chronic pain, and weight gain. As soon as you start your new career as a remote professional, build this regimen into your day – layering in more of your preferred computer and desk stretches as you go along – and keep us posted on your progress!

How do you keep the weight off and the stress away while working from home?

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng