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8 Desk Stretches to Ease Aches and Pains

As professionals, a lot of us work for hours on end. We sit at our company work or home office desks, eyes fixed on the computer screen, typing away endlessly and at the end of the day, come away with various body aches and pains we never knew were even possible to happen. We stay at the same position and use the same set of muscles for hours, leading to muscle tightness and extensive fatigue on our back, neck, arms, shoulders, and more. 

Staying in the same position is not a good thing at all. Not only does it give one various aches, but you also risk developing long-term health problems. Aches can also lead to reduced happiness and high stress levels. It’s highly important to take breaks, especially when you’ve been sitting for far too long. 

Taking breaks doesn’t just mean tearing your eyes away from the company computer for a few seconds. It can mean getting up from your seat, walking around for a couple of minutes, eating food or grabbing drinks, and stretching. 

Stretching can help reduce neck pain, back pain, joint aches, and more. Doing a few stretches can be beneficial to your overall health, and can help you in a whole lot of ways. It can increase your flexibility when done regularly, as well as increase your range of motion, increase the blood flow to your muscles, improve your performance in physical activities, improve your overall posture, release the stress you’ve been holding in, and calm your mind. 

Moreover, you don’t even really have to move away from your desk just to do these stretches. You can still beat your deadline and stretch at your desk at the same time with this office exercise version. 

How Often Should You Stretch When Working at a Desk?

It’s highly recommended that one takes a break for 5 to 10 minutes for every 1-2 hours spent at a work desk. While it’s mostly ideal to stand up and walk around, stretching is also highly effective to reduce strains and aches. A few stretches a day can keep the doctor away, as they say.

What Stretches to Do Sitting All Day?

You don’t need to haul yourself to the gym just to do these exercises! These can perfectly be done right at your desk. Take a break from your work and get some blood flowing into those hands, arms, and more. Try out the following desk stretches — we’re sure your neck, shoulders, and back will thank you! 

When doing these stretch workouts, remember to breathe normally and never hold your breath. Don’t bounce, push or pull excessively, or lock your joints. Don’t push yourself further than what is comfortable. 

Neck Stretch

To start off, sit tall and upright. With one hand, grasp the bottom of the chair to keep your shoulder down. Lift your opposite hand overhead and put a gentle pressure on your head while you bring your ear towards the opposite shoulder. Hold the pose for 5 to 10 seconds, and repeat on the other side.

Neck Rotations

First, keep your head upright. Next, gently turn your head from side to side. Try moving it past your shoulder. Repeat as necessary.

Lower Neck and Upper Back (Rhomboid) Stretch

To do this, first stretch your arms out in front of your body. Next, clasp one hand on top of your other hand. Gently reach your hands out so that you can feel your shoulder blades stretching away from each other. Bend your head forward gently, and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat for 2 to 4 times.

Posterior Shoulder Stretch

Hold an arm across your body, and then pull your elbow into your chest. Once you do that, you should feel your shoulder gently stretching. Repeat the stretch on the other side.

Shoulder Shrug

To do shoulder shrugs, start by gently lifting your shoulders. Next, let them fall slowly. As they fall, you should be able to feel the tension slowly drop.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

For starters, rest one heel on the floor and keep your leg straight. Next, gently lean forward until you feel a stretch behind your knee or thigh. Hold the position, and then repeat with the other leg. To intensify the stretch, you can point your ankle and toes upwards and towards your body.

Chest Opener with Upper Back Extension

Begin by placing the arms behind the head and with the fingers interlocked. Next, extend your back over the chair, engaging your core and abdominals as you do so. Make sure that you don’t allow your lower back to extend. If you have a ball or a pillow, you can also use that and place it midway down your back before extending backwards.

Torso Stretch

Facing forward, place your feet firmly on the ground. Rest an arm on the back of your chair and twist your body in the direction of that arm. Hold your pose for 10 to 30 seconds and not more than that. Repeat on the other side. Exhale as you lean into stretch for a wider range of motion. 

See, you don’t have to hit the gym just to get these desk stretches done. All you need to do is to push your chair back and get into it. Once you develop the habit of stretching periodically, you’ll notice an improvement in your overall health, happiness, and well-being. Take care and stay safe! 

If you’re interested in more desk exercises, check out these upper body exercises to do at work

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.