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Deskercises!

You don’t have to turn your classroom or workspace into a gym to fit a stretching routine into your day. Here are some great stretches you can do right at your desk.

Get started by following the helpful instructions below or watch the excellent series of stretching videos produced by the Mayo Clinic.

Neck stretch 1 Side stretch
Neck stretch 2 Calf raises
Eye relaxer Back leg swing
Wrist stretch Quarter squat
Finger stretch Back stretch
Shoulder stretch Cat stretch for lower back
Shoulder roll Ankle flex and stretch
Chest stretch Full body stretch

Neck stretch 1:
Drop your head slowly to the left, trying to touch your left ear to your left shoulder. Repeat on the right side.
Slowly drop your chin to your chest, turn your head all the way to the left, then turn all the way to the right.

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Neck stretch 2:
Sit upright on your chair, keep your head upright and place the palm of one hand against your forehead.
Push forward with your head while resisting with your hand and hold for a few breaths.
Then clasp your hands behind your head and push your head backwards while resisting with your hands.
Use gentle resistance only.

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Eye relaxer:
Sit upright on your chair, relax your shoulders, facial muscles, jaw and tongue.
Circle your eyes clockwise eight times, then repeat counter-clockwise eight times.
Cross your eyes by looking at the tip of your nose.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few slow breaths.

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Wrist stretch:
Grasp one hand and hold your fingers with the other hand.
Slowly bend your wrist down until you feel a stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds. Relax.
Repeat 3 times. Then slowly bend your wrist up until you feel the stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds and relax.

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Finger stretch:
Place your palm flat on a table.
Raise and lower your fingers, one by one. Repeat.
Rest your hand on a table.
Spread your fingers wide apart, then bring them back together. Repeat.

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Shoulder stretch:
Stand in front of an open doorway with your right arm extended at shoulder height and a slight bend in your elbow.
Lean slightly into the open doorway while gently twisting your upper body away from your upraised arm and hold the stretch.
Repeat on the left side.
This will open up your chest and stretch your shoulders.

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Shoulder roll:
Slowly roll your shoulders backward five times in a circular motion. Next, roll your shoulders forwards.

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Chest stretch:
Sit tall in your chair or stand up.
Clasp your hands behind your back. Keeping your back straight, lift your arms away from your back until you can feel the stretch across your chest. You should feel your chest "opening".
Pull your tummy muscles in and keep your head, neck and shoulders relaxed.
Gently stretch your shoulders back, opening up your chest.
Take several deep breaths, making sure to keep your back straight and your gaze level. Return to your starting position.

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Side stretch:
Sit tall in your chair or stand up.
Stretch your arms overhead, interlock your fingers, turn your palms to the ceiling and breathe in deeply.
As you exhale, bend your body to the right side, still holding your arms overhead.
Take another deep breath in, then as you exhale, repeat the movement on the left side.

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Calf raises:
Holding on to your desk or chair, slowly raise your heels off the floor.
Hold for a few breaths, then lower.

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Back leg swing:
Stand up, holding on to the back of a chair. Keep your back and hips in line with the chair as you do the exercise.
Extend one leg back, foot pointed towards the floor. Keeping the knee straight, lift the leg backwards approximately four inches and concentrate on squeezing the muscles in the buttocks with each lift.
Make sure you keep your back straight as you raise your legs. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times for each leg.
This exercise will strengthen your lower back and help firm your buttocks.

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Quarter squat:
Stand erect behind a chair, hands on chair back for balance.
Bend knees, then rise to an upright position.
Be careful not to let knees go beyond your toes. Repeat 8-12 times.
This exercise will tone and strengthen lower leg muscles.

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Back stretch:
Grasp your shin and gently lift your leg off the floor.
Bend forward (curling your back), and reach your nose to your knee. Repeat with the other leg.

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Cat stretch for lower back:
Stand up and place your hands on your desk about shoulder width apart.
Your feet should also be shoulder width apart.
Slowly arch your back like a cat, dropping your chin to your chest and tucking your pelvis in.
Hold for a few breaths, then release and arch your back.
Arching your back slightly in the other direction, push your buttocks backward and raise your head upward.
Hold and release.

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Ankle flex and stretch:
Hold one foot off the floor with your leg straight.
Alternately flex your ankle (point your toes up) and extend (point your toes down). Repeat with the other leg.

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Full body stretch:
Stand facing a wall and stretch your fingers up the wall as far as you can.
While stretching up with your arms, add a downward stretch by pressing your feet firmly into the floor.
Gently press your shoulder blades towards the wall and walk your fingers further up the wall to extend the stretch.

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