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Top 5 Stretches To Do At Your Desk To Ease Pain & Stiffness

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You may think that stretching is only for gymnasts and runners, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Flexibility is important for everyone, which is why everyone should be stretching. You wouldn’t want to get to old age and then realize you can’t move your limbs like you used to. When you stand up, everything may seem to creak. Protecting our mobility and independence should be made more of a priority. Stretching is something that should be done every day and not just once in the blue moon. You may enjoy a job that you can sit down all day, but it’s not healthy to be in the same sitting position without going for a walk or getting up to stretch. Sitting for an extended period of time has been linked to obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and many more issues no one wants to have to deal with.  

If you’re wondering if I’m saying that even if you live a pretty healthy life, you could still be harming your health by sitting all day? Then you’re right. That’s exactly what I’m saying. An hour of physical activity every day may be able to counteract the effects of a sedentary job or lifestyle. This topic has to be researched more before any definite claims are made, but what we do know is that moving is always better than sitting for your overall health. 

Why You Need To Stretch

Hands stretching.

Stretching keeps muscles vital and limber.

You may be wondering why you need to stretch, and that’s why I’m here. Stretching does more than just increase your flexibility. It keeps your muscles strong and healthy. You need the flexibility to be able to move your joints in full range. Without stretching, muscles become tight and shorten. This is why you may only notice runners and gymnasts stretching. They can’t have their joints and muscles failing on them. Doing any exercise without proper stretching can put you at risk for strains, muscle damage, and joint pain. The thought of adding stretching to your day may seem overwhelming, but you don’t need to stretch every muscle every day. 

Stretching won’t do anything if you don’t do it consistently. If you want to work on your flexibility which you should, you’re going to need to stay committed to stretching every day. Just like it takes you many months to get tight muscles, the reversal won’t happen instantly. Flexibility also has to be maintained once you get it. It used to be believed that you need to stretch before a workout to warm up your muscles but it could actually hurt your muscles to stretch them before they are warmed up. Therefore, it’s best to stretch more after physical activity than before. Many also believe that you need to push yourself in a stretch, but you should only push yourself to feel the stretch. You shouldn’t bounce or overstretch. 

Top 5 Stretches To Do At Your Desk Today

1. Spinal Twist

The spinal twist is one of many types of lower back stretches that you can do at your desk while sitting in your chair. Our lower back suffers the most, and a twisting stretch can gently release some of that tension. The best way to do this is by planting your feet flat on the floor and rotating to one side while you contract your abs. You can use the armrests on your chair to help you do a deeper stretch. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat it on the other side. 

2. Chest Stretch

You may feel uncomfortable with exercising at your desk, but it will only be a little awkward the first few times. Especially if your office is an open-spaced one. Eventually, your coworkers will understand that you care about your physical health and stretch during the day, and there’s nothing wrong about it. Since working at a desk all day usually means you spend a good amount of time hunched over, a chest stretch is what you need. While seated or standing, put your hands behind you and try to lace your fingers together. Pull your shoulders back as you lift your hands up and exhale until you feel the stretch in your chest – hold for 10 to 30 seconds. 

3. Seated Hip Stretch

When you sit for too long, all of the muscles in your thighs eventually get tight. Here is an extremely simple move that’s easy to do, which can loosen them up. It stretches muscles in the hips as well as the glutes. It hits the perfect spots after a long day of sitting. While simply sitting in your chair, bring your left ankle over your left knee. Sit up straight and gently lean forward. Keep your back straight and reach out with your torso until you feel a stretch. To deepen the stretch, you can hold down on your right knee. Hold for at least 15 seconds and repeat on the other side. 

4. Supported Extended Backbend

For the supported extended backbend, you should use an exercise ball. there is no one-size-fits-all exercise ball for desks, as there are many different ball sizes and desk heights to take into consideration. This means that you might need to do some searching until you find an exercise ball that works for you. While sitting on the ball a few feet away from your desk, lean back. Get the ball under your spine by walking your feet out. It’s easier to stay stable if you keep your knees bent, with your feet hip-distance apart. Slowly walk your feet some more so your knees are no longer bent and extend your arms over your head for the ultimate stretch. Stay in the position for a few deep breaths. 

5. Neck Stretch

Our necks hold a lot of tension. This tension can lead to headaches and upper back pain. While working, we tend to drop our head forward which puts extra stress on our precious, delicate neck. Stretching your neck at work won’t draw any attention to you. Grab the side of your chair and tilt your head in the opposite direction of where you’re holding. You should feel the stretch down the side of your neck and shoulder. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Our necks do a lot and sometimes they need a little break. 


Having a job that requires you to be seated all day can be quite taxing on your physical health. Stretching is important for everyone, but especially necessary for people who tend to stay seated more. Whether you’re a bus driver, phone operator, or couch potato, you need to make a point to get up and stretch. Taking a break from what you’re doing and from screen time can give your eyes a break and allow your whole body to feel more comfortable. When stretching at work, you want simple moves that you can do in a tight space. Targeting your glutes, hips, shoulders, back, and neck are important for combating the physical stress you put your body through during a day of sitting. 

Even though there are only five stretches mentioned in this article, there are many more out there. The best way to know what works for you is by trying it. Forget about who’s watching you and just go for it. Your co-workers may be weirded out at first, but will probably soon be jealous they didn’t think of it first. Your health and well being come first, so it’s about time you made it a priority, even when you’re clocked in.