Many people spend long hours seated at a desk at work or at a home office. One effect of prolonged sitting is tight hamstrings, which may increase your potential for injury when you’re away from your desk playing sports or even in your everyday routine. If you find that you don’t have much time to get away from your desk on a regular basis, try a few different hamstring stretches at your desk to keep your legs loose.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
If you are short on time, you can stretch both hamstrings at once. Turn your chair to either side so you’re clear of your desk, and move your butt to the edge of the chair. Stretch your legs out straight and place your heels on the floor. Place your hands on top of your thighs or behind your knees, depending on your comfort level, and lean your torso forward to stretch your hamstrings. Hold the stretch for several seconds, then relax and repeat. Be careful that you don’t fall of the chair, especially if it’s on wheels.
The Wooden Leg
If you have a little more time, or just prefer to focus on one leg at a time, stretch your hamstrings one at a time. Sit close to the edge of your chair and leave one foot flat on the floor, while stretching the other leg out in front of you. Place the heel of the outstretched leg on the floor and lean forward to stretch your hamstring. Hold the stretch, relax and then switch legs to get the other one.
Feet-Up Hamstring Stretch
Call on the services of your desk for this more intense hamstring stretch. Sit on your chair and lift your left heel onto your desk. Flex your foot upward. Lean forward from your waist and touch the toe of your shoe with your fingers. Stay in this position for up to 10 seconds and then switch sides.
Standing Forward Bend
A little yoga at work may be just the ticket for your tight hamstrings. Stand away from your chair with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward from your waist on an exhalation. Slide your hands down the fronts of your legs until you feel a pleasant pull in the backs of your legs. Let every exhalation stretch a little further. Stay in this posture for up to one minute and then rise back up to standing with a flat back.