Stretching exercises to do at your desk

As health and wellness conversations continue to surface in the workplace, many people are warming up to the idea of daily stretching and exercise in the office. Employers and employees alike are facing long hours and stressful days at their desks, staring at computer monitors longer than our bodies can physically endure. As they say, sitting is the new smoking – so it’s important to get up and move or stretch!

Ergonomically-equipped workspaces help make us more productive and comfortable throughout the day; however, we’re simply not made to sit for extended periods of time. Some of the most common complaints during the work day are lower back pain, neck and shoulder pain, tight hips and wrist strain. Here are four work-appropriate stretches you can do at your desk to help relieve these pains:

Pose 1: Relieve back pain and stiffness with a chair spinal twist.
Sit forward in a chair that has arms.  Take your left hand and grab the right chair arm, and take your right hand and place it on top of the back of the chair. Simply turn your chest and abdomen to the right until you feel a stretch.  Take some deep breaths until you really feel it, then repeat on the opposite side. Twists like these are great for your spine, abdomen, and obliques.

Pose 2: Release tension in your neck with an open chest stretch.
Sit on the edge of your chair. Take both hands behind your lower back and interlace them, and then pull your shoulders back and straighten your arms. Slowly lower your head and shoulders while raising your arms higher. Inhale slowly until you feel a stretch in your chest, and when you exhale, relax your shoulders away from your ears.

Pose 3: Stretch out hamstrings with a seated hamstring stretch.
Carefully sit on the edge of your chair with your back straight. Extend one leg forward and flex the foot. Once in this position, lean forward slowly until you feel the stretch. Repeat with the opposite leg. Hamstring stretches play a big role in maintaining proper alignment and preventing lower back injuries.

Pose 4: Release tightness between shoulder blades with a seated eagle pose. 
While seated in a chair, lift your arms out in front of you and bend at the elbow to form 90-degree angles. Place your right elbow in the nook of your left elbow-bend and try to twist your arms to clasp your palms together. Lift your elbows while you press your shoulders away from your ears. Repeat on the other side. In addition to releasing tightness between shoulder blades, this pose also helps to loosen up your wrists.

Performing these simple stretches throughout the day can help boost your energy and productivity while also helping to create a proper body alignment for a better, healthier you! If you find these stretches helpful, be a trendsetter and lead some group stretches, or suggest bringing in a professional who can explain all the benefits of stretching and demonstrate even more poses. Happy stretching!

Our friends at Gear Bunch shared with us an easy to use printable infographic! Feel free to keep handy at your desk for a daily reminder! Print it here!


Header image via