We're going to reach above our heads and do some stretching, but first, Dr. Todd Berntson, author of Deskercise! The Workplace Workout, has some stretching advice.
Tip #1: Don't stretch your muscles too far. Stretch only to the point where you can feel a mild pull on the muscles. Stretch too far and you can cause muscle tears and a reflex tightening of the muscle.
Tip #2: Don't bounce while stretching.
Tip #3: Warm up before stretching your muscles. This can be done by moving slowly at first, intensifying later. Get up and walk around a bit, or go up and down a flight or two of stairs or march in place, working your arms as well as your legs. If you are stretching, begin by stretching slowly and deliberately but only as far as where you begin to feel the muscle pull. You can even add a layer of clothing to increase body temperature (go ahead - put on your coat for a few of these stretches before you begin the exercise repetitions).
Ready for the stretch?
Step 1: Stand up.
Step 2: Lace your fingers together in front of your chest, palms facing away from your body.
Step 3: Keeping shoulders down, reach your arms over your head.
Step 4: Straighten your arms, and try to pull your tailbone down, keeping your torso straight.
Step 5: Look straight ahead; try to feel the stretching on both the front and back of your torso.
Step 6: Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.
Repeat five times.
This exercise can also be done while sitting at your desk.