10 Stretches you Can Do at your Desk

stretch office workers australia ergonomics at desk

Adults spend a large amount of time throughout the day and week at the office. From difficult projects, to long hours sitting in front of the computer, your body is exposed to a wide range of factors that can really add strain to any part of your body. Office workers are exposed to injuries on a daily basis and it often is due to long hours of sitting, the lack of exercise, and strained muscles.

Muscle strains in the office range from the lower back area (most common), to the shoulders, and even the wrist muscles. While muscle strains are common in the office, there are a number of stretches you can do at your desk at work to prevent injuries at the office. Listed below are 10 common stretches that you can easily do at your desk and in the area of your office space.

10 Common Desk Stretches to Try at Work

1. Lower Back Stretch.

This stretch involves the use of your desk chair. For starters, sit in your desk chair and make sure that your feet can touch the floor below you. To perform an effective lower back stretch using your desk chair, you will want to slowly walk your hands forwards and reach for your toes, or to the tips of your shoes. You should be in a full hip bend position at this point and it should be stretching your lower back muscles. Hold this position for 30-45 seconds and then slowly walk your hands up towards your hips. Repeat this stretch two or three times throughout the day and consider this stretch after that long meeting you spent sitting.

2. Forearm Stretch.

If you work on your computer often throughout the day then there is a chance that your forearms get a bit tight throughout your shift. Here is how you should perform the forearm stretch. When you arrive at your desk in the morning hours, turn on your computer and while you are waiting for it to boot up, perform your stretch. Straighten your elbow fully in front of your body. Using your other hand, gently pull on the reached arm’s fingers and gently pull them upwards and towards your body. Once you feel the stretch and a bit of discomfort, hold at this spot for 30 seconds. Do the same thing to your other forearm and repeat this stretch a couple times throughout the day. This stretch can help to prevent carpal tunnel and other repetitive motion injuries.

3. Crossover Shoulder Stretch.

Your shoulders take quite a bit of strain throughout the day and one of the simplest stretches you can do at your desk is the shoulder stretch. Start with your right shoulder. Bring your right arm across your body towards the left side, as if you are reaching for something. However, your entire body should remain facing forward throughout the reach. Bring your left arm under your right arm and gently bring your right arm farther towards the left and hold. Hold this for about 30 seconds and then switch arms. Perform two stretches each day for best results and consider referring here for more information about the crossover shoulder stretch.

4. Doorway Chest Stretch.

Working in the office can greatly affect your posture and can lead to rounded shoulders. One reason for this is due to a lack of pectoral muscle flexibility. Fortunately, a simple doorway stretch can greatly improve your chest flexibility to reduce rounded shoulders (not to mention it feels great). Use your office door for this stretch. Stand next to the doorway, facing your body out of the door and with your arm in line with the door frame. Bring the closest arm (forearm and hand) on the door frame, with the upper arm in line with your shoulders. Gently turn your body away from the doorframe to stretch the pectoral muscle and hold for 30 seconds. Switch your position and perform on your other side. Given the complexity of this stretch, consider referring to this description to aid in your form in the stretch. This can be done throughout the workday and can easily be performed at your office door (or any door for that matter).

5. Neck Stretch.

A simple neck stretch can help to decrease that small tweak you get when you turn your head throughout the day. If you use one ear to talk on the phone for long hours, chances are you have felt that tweak before. For this reason, you should perform a gentle neck stretch to prevent that crick from appearing throughout the day. Start by sitting at your desk and lightly drop your left ear to your left shoulder and hold. You can gently apply some pressure to your head to get more out of this stretch, but hold this stretch for 30 seconds and switch sides when finished. Complete two sets each day for best results.

6. Hamstring Stretch.

This is another important stretch in the office and you can easily do it at your desk. Start by sitting at the edge of your chair and bring your left foot out in front of you. Place the heel of that foot on the floor, straighten the left knee, and gently reach towards your toes. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. Perform two sets each day for best results.

7. Overhead Triceps Stretch.

This exercise is vital for the office worker. The triceps do not get much use at the desk, so performing an overhead triceps stretch can be a simple thing to do at your desk. Bring your right arm directly above, bend your right elbow, and bring your left hand to your right bent elbow. Apply a little pressure to your elbow and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side and consider this stretch when you start each day.

8. Glute Stretch.

Sitting at your desk all day can cause stiffness behind your body, which is why a glute stretch is important at the desk. Start by sitting at the edge of your chair with both feet flat on the floor. Gently bring your right knee towards your chest using your hands and hold in this position for 30-45 seconds. Repeat using your other leg and repeat for two sets each day. This stretch is great following a long project or when you have been sitting for at least two hours at a time.

9. Oblique Stretch.

This stretch has good value to loosen the sides of your body and it is one of the easiest stretches to do at your desk. Start by raising your right arm directly above your body with your left hand on your left hip. Gently lean the raised right arm towards the left side of the body and hold for 30-45 seconds. Repeat on the other side and perform two sets each day. This stretch is good for increasing blood flow to the side of your body and it can help to loosen you core area with ease.

10. Figure 4 Stretch.

This is a great stretch for the abductor muscles (the outer leg and hip muscles) and a simple chair stretch can help to alleviate strain in these muscles. Start by sitting at the edge of your chair and place your right ankle on top of your leg knee/thigh, similar to sitting cross-legged. Gently lean your body forward and hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat and consider this stretch when you are on a phone meeting or at any time throughout the day as needed.

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