5 Stress-Relieving Lunch Break Exercises

Long hours spent sitting at a desk can take a real toll on your health. Research has shown that sitting for long periods of time is associated with obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and increased risk of heart disease and cancer.

Rather than spending your lunch break at your desk, make better use of that time by doing something good for your body and mind. Here are five ways to get some light exercise during your lunch break.

Stress-Relieving Lunch Break Exercises

Take a walk. Use half your lunch break for eating (preferably a packed lunch from home—it’s healthier!) and the other half for taking a walk outside. If the weather is bad, take a walk around your office building or walk some flights of stairs.

Do some neck rolls. Place your feet flat on the floor and sit up tall. (If you’re wearing heels, take your shoes off.) Start by circling your neck slowly toward your right shoulder, back and then to the left shoulder. Do this 3-5 times and switch directions.

Cat-cow stretches are great for relieving tension in your back. Place both feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on top of your knees, arch your back and look up while inhaling slowly. Then drop your head forward as you exhale slowly and round your spine. You should be looking at your belly. Do this 3-5 times.

Do some shoulder stretches. Lift your elbow, place one hand under it and stretch it across your chest without rotating your body. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat several times.

Try a chin tuck to loosen tight shoulders and neck muscles caused by staring at a computer for hours at a time. Look straight ahead and lower your chin to your chest. Hold it for 15-30 seconds. Raise your head back up slowly and relax. Repeat several times.

These exercises are simple but effective ways to relieve muscle tension, get your blood moving and, hopefully, help you have a more productive workday.