Healthy at the Office: How to Stretch at Your Desk

Whether you are working remotely or in a traditional office, too much time spent at a desk can lead to plenty of aches and pains. While most people associate workplace pains with jobs that require a lot of moving, back pain is a serious issue for thousands of desk workers. Learning how to properly stretch at your desk can help to prevent ongoing back pain and make you more comfortable while you work.

What Problems Can Occur Due to Sitting at a Desk for Extended Periods of Time?

One study of American office workers over the past five decades found that 8 out of 10 don’t move much outside of their desks over the course of the day. While today standing desks are growing in popularity and some are working remotely and getting up and down more frequently, spending extended time sitting every day can lead to

  • Back pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Obesity
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Increased stress
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

One of the best ways to prevent this chronic pain from developing is by taking the time to stretch at your desk.

How to Stretch at Your Desk

  1. Triceps Stretch: Raise your arm up and slowly bend it behind your head so that your hand stretches towards the opposite shoulder. Take your hand and slowly pull the elbow that it is holding towards your head. Hold the position for 30 seconds and then repeat it on the opposite side.
  2. Back Stretch: Start this stretch at your desk by sitting in your office chair and reaching both of your hands around the office chair and behind your back. Clasp your hands firmly behind your back and arch your back forward (away from the chair) while also moving your chest forward. Hold the position for 30 seconds and then relax. Repeat 5 times for the best results.
  3. Stretch Up Tall: This simple stretch at your desk might be one that you already do several times a day. Sit near the front of your office chair as straight as you can. Lace together your fingers above your head with your palms towards the ceiling. Push your palms up to the sky and slowly elongate your spine while doing so. Keep your shoulders relaxed and let your back stretch. Hold this position for 10 seconds and relax, Repeat 5 times.
  4. Calf Raise: Stand up behind your desk chair to complete this stretch at your desk. Complete 20 calf raises while keeping your legs straight and slowly raising yourself up, rolling your weight up onto the ball of your foot and tightening your calf muscles.
  5. Spine Twist: Sitting in the desk chair, cross one leg over the other leg and twist your body in the direction of the top leg. For example, cross your right leg over your left leg and twist your body to the right. If you don’t feel a good stretch in your back, use the arm of your desk chair to deepen the twist. Hold this stretch at your desk for 30 seconds and relax. Repeat the stretch 3 times on each side.

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