Stretching serves as a continuous tactic to improve not only your muscle control, flexibility, and range of motion, but also your productivity and focus throughout the week! As a key aspect of an efficient working environment, a primary habit of ergonomics is routine stretching. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are injuries that affect the human body’s movement through muscle, nerve, and other aspects of the musculoskeletal system. Stretching in itself plays a significant role in reducing these MSD’s that account for more than 34% of all workdays lost and 600,000 injuries across the U.S. Utilize those short breaks between meetings to stretch in your home office! Here are three stretches that are tailored to your potential needs and may work wonders for both your mental and physical well-being:

1. Shoulder Shrug 
This shoulder movement can significantly relieve symptoms of tension in your neck and shoulder muscles. To perform the shoulder shrug, start with your arms by your sides and palms facing each other. As you inhale, bring your shoulders as high as possible towards your ears. Remember, do not rush the movement! By moving slowly, you will really feel the resistance of your muscles. Lower your shoulders back slowly and repeat! To start, aim for three sets of 12 repetitions as a benchmark and adjust accordingly. As your shoulder strength increases, you can slowly build up to an extra set or some extra repetitions. Whatever feels more comfortable for you! 

2. Knee to Chest Stretch 
This common yoga pose gently stretches the muscles associated with the lower back, an area that 31 million Americans report pain. To perform the knee to chest stretch, lie flat on your pack with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Interlace your fingers in front of your knees, gently gripping your upper shins. Slowly pull your legs towards your chest. If done correctly, you should feel a significant stretch of the lower back and the gluteus. Hold for 30 seconds and relax. To start, aim for three sets, however, adjust accordingly! 

3. Standing Hamstring Stretch 
With this specific and simple stretch, we really aim to target both hamstrings simultaneously. Done standing, begin performing the stretch by standing straight with your hands by your side. Keep your feet together and slowly lower your forehead to your knees by bending your waist. Keep both knees straight throughout the movement and hold this position for about 15-30 seconds, depending on your flexibility. To finish, relax and return to the starting position. Repeat this movement for about four sets, however, ensure that your knees remain straight throughout! At first, it is completely okay if you cannot touch your toes while holding the movement. Flexibility improvement takes time!