Lunchtime stretching groups are a great way to introduce more movement into the work day. It’s easy to do and doesn’t even require the lead of a trained yoga practitioner or any other kind of exercise expert.
Participants can take turns leading the group using a stretching guide such as Bob Anderson’s excellent book, Bob Anderson’s Stretching, which gives easy-to-follow diagrams for stretching for many different scenarios (eg, office workers) and areas of the body (eg, hands, arms and shoulders).
Twenty minutes is all it takes and participants don’t need to worry about changing clothes as it’s not necessary to break a sweat for the effects to be felt. All that’s required is that people take the time away from their computers and smartphones to stand up and stretch.
Doing the stretching as a group encourages people to take part and to keep it up on a regular basis. You can start out slow if you prefer with one or two days a week and slowly increase the numbers of days a week you do and the amount of time you spend stretching.
It helps if there is a meeting room or office that can be used on a regular basis—same days/times—so that people get used to seeing it happen—and hopefully joining in—with regularity.
Over time, more and more people should join in as they see how easy it is and as they hear their coworkers talking about the benefits of doing it.
As musculoskeletal problems become more commonplace, companies should start to make stretching breaks mandatory. Help your office take the lead with its employee health, and start a stretching group with a few of your coworkers this week.