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Exercises for the Workplace

It is important to take frequent breaks during your workday and to avoid sitting for more than 1 hour at a time. In the course of a workday you should take a mini-exercise break (1 to 2 minutes) once per hour and a longer break (3 to 5 minutes), once every 2 to 3 hours. The following exercises can reduce fatigue and your risk of having an overuse injury. These exercises can be done during short or long breaks.

  • Pectoralis stretch: Stand in an open doorway or corner with both hands slightly above your head on the door frame or wall. Slowly lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulders. Hold 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
  • Thoracic extension: While sitting in a chair, clasp both arms behind your head. Gently arch backward and look up toward the ceiling. Repeat 10 times. Do this several times each day.
  • Arm slide on wall: Sit or stand with your back against a wall and your elbows and wrists against the wall. Slowly slide your arms upward as high as you can while keeping your elbows and wrists against the wall. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Scapular squeeze: While sitting or standing with your arms by your sides, squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.
  • Wrist stretch: With one hand, press the back of your other hand to help bend your wrist. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Next, stretch your hand back by pressing your fingers in a backward direction. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep your arm straight during this exercise. Do 3 sets on each hand.
  • Scalene stretch: Sit or stand and clasp both hands behind your back. Lower your left shoulder and tilt your head toward the right until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then come back to the starting position. Then lower your right shoulder and tilt your head toward the left. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each side.
Written by Phyllis Clapis, PT, DHSc, OCS.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-02-09
Last reviewed: 2010-05-27
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2011 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
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