Many people spend so much time sitting at their desks at work all day and this is unhealthy for the body in many ways. One major part of the body that is affected are the hamstrings. Hamstrings are the muscles that makes up the back of the thigh, and if strained, can be really painful or cause damage to some tendons in that region. You might not have the luxury of time to exercise your hamstrings, and the nature of your job might not always permit you to get off your desk for some time to exercise.
However, there are some exercises you can do at your work desk, that will help stretch and strengthen your hamstrings. Below are some:
1. Seated twist
Sit upright on your chair, and keep a tall, long spine. Now, place your right hand on the outside of your right knee and use the same hand as leverage to twist to your right. Try to stretch your right hand as far to the left as much as you can and hold on to something while you twist. Do this between breaths. Exhale, move into your twist, and inhale while you relax back. Repeat this process on the left side and keep switching sides.
2. Standing forward bend
Stand a few inches away from your chair with your feet hip-width apart. Now, exhale and bend forward from your waist. Slide your hands down on the fronts of your legs and don’t stop until you feel a stretch on your hamstrings.
For every time you exhale, try to stretch a little more. Remain in this position for a while, and return to your original position with your back upright. You can then repeat.
3. The wooden leg
Move your butt to the edge of your chair. Leave your left foot flat on the floor, while you stretch the right leg out in front of you. Place the heel of your outstretched right leg on the floor and try to lean a bit forward, so as to stretch your hamstring. When you feel the stretch, maintain the pose for a while, then relax and switch to the other side.
4. Seated pigeon
This pose is similar to the pigeon pose in yoga, but in this case, it is done on a chair. Sit on the edge of your chair and place your right ankle over your left knee, such that your left foot is indirectly under your left knee. Sit upright and keep your spine tall.
Now raise your head slowly and direct it towards the ceiling, like there’s something pulling the crown of your head upwards. You will feel a stretch in the muscles of your thigh. Hold this stretch for some seconds and repeat the process on the other side.
These exercises work to stretch the muscles of the thigh, and reduce the risk of muscle strain, ache, and weakness.