Sitting at a computer desk eight plus hours a day can be a lot on the body. Even if you have perfect sitting form and never slump over, lean to the side, or strain your neck forward, you will need to take a break and stretch out those stiff muscles. You should be getting up from your chair every couple hours to reduce some of the potential side effects of long term sitting. Follow along below for a daily stretching routine that you can do right at your desk in less than 10 minutes!
Daily Desk Stretching Routine
When you are sitting at your desk your hip flexors are in a constant state of shortening, your back and neck muscles are constantly contracting to keep you upright, and your wrists are doing a lot of work typing all day. When sitting and working at a desk for long periods of time you can develop long term health issues such as carpal tunnel, spinal disc bulging or pressure, weight gain, rounded shoulder posture, increased blood pressure, varicose veins, and chronic neck pain. So let’s get you moving and stretching so you can have a little less pain in the years to come.
Follow along the below image or scroll down to get detailed descriptions for each stretch. All stretches can be done in the seated position. Scroll down to see how the Lunge can become a seated stretch. Hold each pose for 30 seconds while taking slow, deep breaths for best results. This will take no longer than 10 minutes (including the bonus stretches!).
Detailed Descriptions and Tips of Stretches:
Neck Stretch – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)
- Right ear to right shoulder stretch, place right hand on left ear for additional pressure – 30 seconds each side
- Take slow, deep breaths while holding the posture
Wrist Stretch – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)
- Feel free to do a series of different wrist stretches and wrist circles. Extend your arms in front of you and pull your fingers back towards your elbow, try palm up and palm down
Seated Spinal Twist – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)
- Stay in your chair and sit up straight. Simply twist your upper body to the right and look over your right shoulder. You can use your arm rest to help twist further. You can also cross you right leg over your left for more depth. Repeat on the other side
Side Bend – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)
- You can stay seated here. Sit up straight and reach both arms up to the sky, drop your right hand by your side (or lean on the arm rest) and reach your left arm to the right feeling a stretch along the left side body. Try rotating your neck to look up at your left elbow. Repeat on the other side
Bicep Stretch – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)
- Bring your right arm straight across your chest and place it in the bend of your left arm. Use your left arm to pull the right arm closer to the chest. Repeat on the other side
Tricep Stretch – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)
- Bring your right arm straight to the sky, bend at the elbow and reach your right hand towards the center of your back. Place your left hand on your right elbow and push down as if to assist it reaching lower down your back. Keep your chin up and then repeat other side
Seated Forward Fold – 30 seconds
- You can stay in your chair (just back away from the desk or turn to the side so you don’t hit your head) and shift to the very edge of your seat. Extend both legs (or one at a time) straight in front, planting your heels into the ground and toes pointing up. Have a slight bend in the knee and then fold forward reaching your hands to touch your toes. Relax your head
IT Band Fold – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)
- While seated, bring your right ankle over your left thigh. Push your right knee down gently with your hand and begin to fold forward over the leg. Repeat other side
- Take deep breaths in the pose and you should feel a stretch in your hips and your low back
Lunge – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)
- Either you can stand to the side of your chair and lunge like the photo above or try the seated version
- Seated version: Sit up tall at the edge of your chair, pivot your knees and hips to the right front corner of your seat. Keep your right leg bent and stationary. Slide your left leg straight back, keeping your toes on the ground and heel lifted. Turn your shoulders towards the right leg and lift your arms up to the sky. Feel a stretch in the front left hip. Repeat other side
Wide Leg Seated Spinal Twist – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)
- Come to the edge of you seat and separate your legs out wide (don’t do this in a skirt 😉 ). Put your hands on your knees. Drop your right shoulder, pushing your right knee out further and turn your head to the left and up to the sky. Repeat other side
Chest Opener – 30 seconds
- Staying seated, sit up tall, scooch forward on your seat and reach your hands behind you. You can try to clasp your hands like the photo above, or reach for the sides of your chair. Pull your should blades back and together and lift your chin to the sky to feel a nice chest opener
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