Stretching Exercises at Your Desk: 12 Simple Tips

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You may feel awkward doing tennis elbow. She got it at work from the way she answered the phone and worked at the computer.” The solution, experts say, is to break up your work by doing stretching exercises at your desk.

Relieve Back Pain With Stretching Exercises at Your Desk

Aches and pains, not to mention the weight gain that can result from hunching over your desk all day, are just the beginning. “People shouldn’t be complacent about moving just because they’re not exercise specialists for 12 simple stretching exercises at your desk that will release tension from head to toe. They take only a few minutes. Set the alarm on your cell phone or computer to go off every hour to remind you it’s time to get up and stretch.

The 12 Best Stretching Exercises at Your Desk

  1. Just stand up and sit down — no hands
    • You might have gotten a gold star in preschool for sitting still, but it just goes to show you (best sellers notwithstanding) that not all of us learned everything we need to know in kindergarten. “If you stand up and sit down (over and over) — without using your hands — it can be a challenge,” says Smith. “Do it while you’re on the phone; no one will know.”
  2. Substitute exercise for sitting — while you work
    • Get rid of your desk chair and substitute an exercise ball, suggests Smith. “I used it for a while when I was having low-back problems; it was great,” Smith says. “All day you are engaging all the muscles in the back, legs, butt, everything, to stay balanced.”
    • Hame knows one man who put a treadmill in his office and conducted all his business while walking. (He lost weight, too, Hame says.)
  3. Shrug your shoulders — to release the neck and shoulders
    • Inhale deeply and shrug your shoulders, lifting them high up to your ears. Hold. Release and drop. Repeat three times.
    • Shake your head slowly, yes and no. You might as well amuse yourself while you do it to relax even further. Ask yourself silly questions: “Is your boss an idiot?” Move your head up and down, “Yes, yes, yes.” Side to side: “No. No. No.” (Shedding tension is as much mental as physical.)
  4. Loosen the hands with air circles
    • Clench both fists, stretching both hands out in front of you.
    • Make circles in the air, first in one direction, to the count of ten.
    • Then reverse the circles.
    • Shake out the hands.
  5. Point your fingers — good for hands, wrist, and forearms
    • Stretch your left hand out in front of you, pointing fingers toward the floor. Use your right hand to increase the stretch, pushing your fingers down and toward the body. Be gentle.
    • Do the same with the other hand.
    • Now stretch your left hand out straight in front, wrist bent, with fingers pointing skyward. Use your right hand to increase the stretch, pulling the fingers back toward your body.
    • Do the same on the other side.
  6. Release the upper body with a torso twist
    • Inhale and as you exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of your chair with your right hand, and grab the arm of the chair with your left.
    • With brain, you have no distractions, and you’re more likely to remember what is said.”