Top 12 Desk Stretches for Office Workers

Desk Stretches

Everyone pretty much agrees that too much sitting is a health hazard. Plus, sitting all day can be pretty uncomfortable for the hips, back, neck, and shoulders. Fortunately, you can do simple desk stretches if you’re stuck at the office all day.

Stretching is a very important daily routine to include in your good habits. If you have to be sedentary for a good part of the day, at least you can get in a few stretches here and there. Try some of these desk stretches for office workers to reduce tension, minimize pain, and increase your flexibility.

Here are the benefits of desk stretches (and stretching in general):

  • Reduce muscle fatigue
  • Boost energy
  • Provide a mental break
  • Increase synovial fluid to help lubricate joints
  • Increase blood flow to the area
  • Decrease stiffness
  • Release tension
  • Improve balance
  • Improve posture
  • Gain flexibility

12 Simple Desk Stretches To Get Started

1. Head Tilt Stretches—start by gently letting your head fall to your right shoulder while looking forward. Feel the stretch along the left side of your neck. Hold for five seconds and return your head to the normal, upright position. Next, let your head fall slowly to your left shoulder and feel the stretch along the right side of your neck. Hold for a count of five and return to normal.

2. Neck Forward and Back Stretches—begin by looking forward and letting your head drop gently down toward your chest. Hold this stretch for a count of five and return to the start. Part two of this stretch entails looking upward toward the ceiling and letting your head fall gently straight back. Hold for five seconds and return to normal.

3. Neck Side Stretches—similar to the head tilt stretches, this will also enable you to stretch your neck. Simply turn your head to the right (keeping your chin upright and parallel to the floor). Hold for five seconds and return to the start. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Back Twist and Stretch—this is a great stretch to relieve stress on your back and even your abs. Begin by sitting up straight in your chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground in front of you. Twist to your right and place both hands on your right armrest. Gently twist your upper body to the right and feel your back and core elongate and release. Hold for five seconds, release, and repeat on your left side.

5. Glute Squeeze—while seated and while holding your core tight, squeeze your glute muscles and hold for five seconds. You can also try tightening your leg muscles at the same time to intensify the stretch.

6. Core Push-Pulls—you can do this exercise either seated or while standing. With your arms in front of you and your elbows high, place your palms together. You will push each palm against the other. (This is an isometric exercise in that you’re not moving anything, per se, but the act of pressing against an immovable force is the exercise.) Continue pressing your palms together for a count of five and release. Next, while holding your arms and elbows high in front of you, clasp your hands together and attempt to pull your hands apart.

7. Hip Stretch—one of the areas that can really get stiff with too much sitting is your hip region. It’s important to stretch this area often. Start sitting in your chair. Bring your right foot up and place it on your left knee. Lean forward and place your left forearm along the side of your right calf and feel the stretch through your right hip area. Return your foot to the starting position and repeat.

8. Back Squeeze—if you work at a desk, chances are good that you’re also slaving over a computer screen. This stretch will help counterbalance some of that slouching we tend to fall into all day. Start by sitting up straight and bringing your arms up by your sides with your elbows bent, hands at your shoulders. Picture yourself “touching your elbows” behind your back while you push your chest forward and squeeze your back muscles as hard as you can. Hold for five seconds and release.

9. Shrugs—this stretch can really help relieve tension in your neck and shoulders. You can do this stretch while seated at your desk (or anywhere). Simply shrug and tense your shoulders upward as hard as you can. Hold this position for five seconds and then release.

10. Ankle Exercises—you can perform this exercise while in your chair. Simply raise your right foot and roll it up and outward in circles to the right for five seconds. Next, switch directions and roll your foot in circles to the left for five seconds. Repeat with the opposite foot. Next, take your right foot and do ten alternating movements of pointing and flexing your foot. Repeat with the left foot.

11. Seated Torso Stretch—begin by sitting up straight with your feet on the floor in front of you. With your left hand on your hip, take your right arm and stretch it all the way up and gently over toward your left side. You should feel a good stretch all along your right side. Return to the start and repeat on the opposite side.

12. Shoulder Presses—begin by sitting in your chair, facing forward with your feet on the ground. Raise your arms and bring your elbows out to your sides to about ear level. Your arms should be bent at a 90-degree angle with your palms facing forward. Raise your hands upward by engaging your shoulder muscles and clasp your hands together over your head. Turn your palms toward the ceiling and straighten your arms for a full stretch. Hold for three seconds and then slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat.

With just a few minutes and a few desk stretches, you can feel more relaxed, focused, and ready to get back to work!