How to Stretch at Your Desk

By: Amy Jacques
Mar. 1, 2020
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Many of us who work in an office environment sit at our desk for long periods of time. We often forget to move or get up regularly, which can lead to wrist, neck and back pain — not to mention eyestrain.

Some simple stretching at your workspace can be a great way to combat soreness and fatigue. Remember to maintain good posture to engage your core muscles while sitting at your desk.

Try out an activity or break app on your mobile device or computer to help you move at work. A few examples that are available to purchase (or to download for free) are: StandApp, Awareness, Workrave, Time Out and Randomly RemindMe.

“Ideally, we’d all get up and exercise for the recommended 30 minutes per day but, often, crammed to-do lists only offer a smidge of time for physical activity,” says an article on CNET.

Here are seven effective exercises you can do at your desk that don’t require much time or space. While you can do most of these in a seated position, you can also try completing them while standing behind your chair at your workstation.

1. Wrists: Intertwine your fingers with your hands clasped. Move them in circles 10-20 times while keeping the palms together, then switch to the opposite direction.

2. Neck: Slowly roll your chin toward your chest. Hold for several seconds, then rotate all the way around to a full circle. Do this 10 times, then change direction.

3. Shoulders: Sit straight up and lift your arms above your head. Clasp your hands together, and push upward. Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat. 

4. Chest: Extend your arms above your head and clasp your hands. Tilt to one side as far as you can, then to the other, stretching your abdominal muscles and lower back.

5. Arms: Sit upright and lift your arms to the side in a “T” shape. Move your arms in forward circles for 30 seconds, then do the same thing in the opposite direction. 

6. Knees: While sitting, lift one knee up in the air as high as you can and hold for a few seconds. Then do the same thing with the other knee. Alternate as many times as you want.

7. Legs: While standing, straighten and extend your leg out in front of you. Then to flex, bend your knee and move your calf as close as you can to your hamstring. Repeat.

photo credit: winwin artlab