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Stretches you can do at your desk

Sep 6 2022

If you’re sitting down all day in an office, you might be sacrificing your effectiveness when working out or even putting yourself at risk of injury.¬†Continuous sitting affects certain muscles, which then tighten up over time, becoming stiff and affecting your posture and making some movements harder when working out (and in everyday life).

There is good news, you can avoid this by doing quick and easy stretches. Take a few moments out from your desk (ideally every hour if you’re not getting up and moving your body) to perform some stretches – the best bit, you can do them from your desk.

A Women stretching with her arms above her head at a desk.

Neck Stretch

  • The neck and shoulder muscles are the first to tighten up after a long day at work, so start by rolling these out.
  • Sit upright with both feet flat on the floor (lower your chair if your feet aren’t flat) and your back straight. Take a few deep breaths then slowly roll your head from the left, then roll it forward with your chin to your chest, and follow this in a circle to the other side. Repeat this slowly and with control – never roll your head directly back, follow the circle pattern.
  • Hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds and repeat as necessary.

Side Stretch

2 mature women and 1 mature man are seated and performing a seated stretch, with their arms and body leaning to one side.

  • Sit comfortably on a chair with your feet planted firmly on the floor. Roll the shoulders down and back to open up the chest.
  • Lift your right hand up and out to the right side, and bring it in an arc above your head.
  • Gently begin to lean toward the left, stretching the fingertips of the right hand over your head toward the left side. Feel a lengthening through the right side of the body. You can press the palm of the left-hand flat into the chair for balance. For a deeper stretch, you can relax the left hand down to the side of the chair and stretch the left fingertips toward the ground. Hold for 5-10 seconds or breaths.
  • With an exhale, swoop your right hand in an arc over your head and back down to the right side. Relax and take a few deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • Repeat 2 to 3 times, stretching a little more with each stretch if your body will allow it.

Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit on the edge of your office chair (ensure it’s a stable chair, ideally one without wheels to avoid the chair rolling from under you).
  • Straighten your legs and keep your knees locked by tensing the quadriceps.
  • Place your heels on the floor with your toes pointed upwards.
  • Bend forward without stressing your back and reach for your toes. Try to bring your body as close to your legs as you can.
  • Hold the stretch for a few seconds and repeat it 2-3 times.

Back Stretch

Perfect if your lower back is feeling tight when you’re sitting at your desk.

  • While in the seated position, cross one leg over the other in a comfortable manner.
  • Take the arm opposite the crossed leg and place it on the outer side of the knee.
  • Twist your shoulders to face that direction and feel a stretch all through your spinal column.
  • Hold for 10-15 seconds, switch sides and repeat.
  • Try to take deep breaths as you do this stretch as it’ll help you to release any extra tension in your back that could prevent you from deepening the stretch.

Upper Back Stretch

Man sat at a desk, arms reaching out in a stretch with his arms in front of him

  • Sitting upright, place both hands together in front of your body, hands clasped together and in line with your shoulders.
  • Round your upper back as you imagine a string pulling your back toward the wall behind you as you simultaneously reach forward.
  • Hold for 30 seconds, feeling the muscles in your upper back and shoulders relax.
  • Once you’ve finished, come out of the stretch.
  • Repeat throughout the day, as necessary.

After practising these exercises, it’s important to try and create a quick office-desk stretch routine you can do daily. It should only take 3-5 minutes and is a great way at breaking up the day and doing something good for your body.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

Muslim women in a sports hijab does exercises, planks, push ups in a gym