If you’re feeling stressed at work, a new Spanish study finds that a quick daily stretching program at your desk goes a long way to curbing anxiety.
Researchers from the Universidad de Zaragoza enlisted 134 office workers, with half of the group assigned to perform a 10-minute stretching program on work days for three months.
The stretching group reported reduced levels of anxiety, body pain, and exhaustion, as well better vitality, mood, and flexibility, the researchers said. "This type of intervention could be seen as a low-cost strategy for improving the well-being of workers," they wrote in a paper published last week in the journal Atención Primaria.
Prior research has found that people who spend hours at a desk are at increased risk for heart disease and obesity, in addition to musculoskeletal issues, such as tension headaches and repetitive strain injuries.
To counteract those risks, the Mayo Clinic advises taking micro-breaks every 20 to 30 minutes, to get up, move around and take deep breaths to relieve muscle tension. Other ideas include standing up to take phone calls, walking to see a colleague rather than emailing, and taking the stairs instead of the lift where possible.
If your boss isn’t willing to spring for a treadmill desk, which could resolve the problem of sitting altogether, you can take quick stretching breaks using apps such as iStretch or Lastics Office Stretch.
Visit the Mayo Clinic's website for a demo of recommended office stretches.