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Office Stretching Routines That Can Save Your Health

Office Stretching Routines That Can Save Your Health
September 8, 2015 gnuworld

stretching at work

Poor posture while sitting for long periods can lead to back, neck and spinal problems. It also puts strain on your organs, digestive system and lungs.

If you regularly work at a desk, it’s important to take regular breaks – and it’s even better if you use these breaks to perform a recommended set of stretches.

The stretches are designed to be unobtrusive, so you won’t attract unwanted attention in an office. They release strain from the muscles, increase blood circulation and improve joint mobility.

Neck and shoulders

Many of us hunch over when we type, which puts strain on the spine and causes tightness in the shoulders.

To release the muscles, reach your arms up behind you, interlocking your fingers. Lift your arms above your head so that you feel the stretch across your chest and in your shoulders.

Keep your chin slightly tucked to avoid crunching your neck. Repeat this motion a few times.

Stretching with arms above the head and fingers interlocked.

Another way to stretch your shoulders is to sit with your arms resting at your sides.

Bring your left hand to your right shoulder and pull your left elbow across your chest with your right hand. Don’t rotate your body as you pull your arm across. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat with the other arm.

Stretching exercise while seated at a desk.

Chin tucks are also great for loosening a stiff neck and shoulders. Sit at your desk, facing straight ahead. Slowly lower your chin to your chest. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax for a moment and then repeat two more times.


Hunching your shoulders while working at a desk can cause tightness in the chest.

To stretch out your chest and encourage proper breathing, place your hands behind your head, elbows facing outwards.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and then bring your elbows back as far as you can. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and then repeat.

Stretching out the chest, with elbows behind the head.


People who spend a lot of time typing are at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. This stretch is good for preventing repetitive strain injuries.

Stand at your desk. Place your palms on the desk, with your fingers pointed toward you. Slowly lower your body until you feel the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat.

Palms on desk, with fingers facing towards the person.

Upper back

The upper back can become tense if you tend to sit with hunched shoulders or if you use a mouse a lot.

To loosen the upper back muscles, sit in a chair and stretch your arms out straight in front of you.

Rotate your hands so that your palms face away from each other. Cross your arms, press your palms together and contract your abdominal muscles.

Stretching arms out in front,, with fingers interlocked.

Round your back and stretch away as you relax your head. Hold the stretch for up to 30 seconds.

Lower back

Lower back pain is common among people who sit all day. To ease tension in the lower back, sit in a chair facing forward. Bring one of your knees toward your chest.

Hold the back of your thigh with your hands, and gently pull it upwards. Keep your back straight as you do this.

Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.

Work tension out of the lower back with a spinal twist. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Contract your abs and gently twist your torso to the right.

Place your hands on the right side of the chair and use them to deepen the twist. Only twist as far as is comfortable. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the left side.

Twisting to one side.


Sitting in one position for extended periods can lead to tightness in the hips.

To release these muscles, sit on the edge of a chair, placing your left ankle over your right knee. Ensure that your left foot is directly over your right knee. Pull your spine upwards, as if someone were pulling you up towards the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds.

Then repeat with your right ankle over your left knee.

Your office chair

As well as incorporating routine office stretches in your work day, ensure that you have an ergonomically designed office chair that provides proper support for your back, legs and arms.


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