Health Advocate Blog

Easy desk stretches you can do at work

Don’t let sitting all day cramp your style—stretch! Light stretching throughout the day can help alleviate the pain and stiffness from sitting by working your muscles and promoting circulation. There are simple stretches you can easily do right at your desk!

First things first

Prior to stretching, stand up, walk in place, and shake out your arms and legs. This will help warm up your muscles in preparation to stretch. Try it for at least 2 minutes or longer if you’ve been sitting for a while.

Know your limitations

If you feel that any of these stretches could cause you pain, avoid them. Consult your doctor to determine which stretches are best for you.

Let’s get stretching!

Don’t strain your muscles while stretching; you’ll only want to hold each stretch where you can feel slight tension.

Head tuck and turns

  1. Start with your head facing straight.
  2. Turn your head to the right and hold for 15 seconds.
  3. Slowly turn your head forward to the start position.
  4. Lower your chin to your chest and hold for 10 seconds.
  5. Slowly raise your head back to the start position.
  6. Turn your head to the left and hold for 15 seconds.
  7. Slowly turn your head forward to the start position.

Hand tension tamer

  1. With your arms raised in front of you, open the palm of your hand as wide as you can to stretch your fingers. Hold for 15 seconds.
  2. Relax your hands for 5 seconds.
  3. Clench your fists and hold for 15 seconds.
  4. Relax your hands for 5 seconds and slowly lower your arms.
  5. Wiggle your fingers to relieve excess tension and promote circulation.

Upper body stretch

  1. Place your hands behind your head, right above your neck. This is where you’ll want to keep your hands for the duration of the stretch. Your elbows should be up so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground.
  2. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you slowly pull back your elbows.
  3. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds.
  4. Relax and return to the start position.

Bellybutton pulls

  1. Start in a seated position with your back straight. Keep your head up and eyes forward.
  2. Tighten your abdominal muscles as if you were bringing your bellybutton back toward your spine. At the same time, take a deep breath.
  3. Hold your muscles for 15 seconds while slowly inhaling and exhaling.
  4. When you reach 15 seconds, take another deep breath, followed by a deep exhale.
  5. Slowly relax your muscles.

Leg stretches

  1. Sit down while holding the seat of your chair.
  2. Extend your legs out straight while raising your feet a few inches from the floor. Hold for 10 seconds.
  3. Flex and point your toes five times.
  4. Slowly lower your legs.

Shake it out

Once you’ve completed your stretching, stand up, walk in place and shake out your arms and legs again. You should now feel relaxed, alert and ready to continue your day!

For Health Advocate Members

If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, contact your coach today for more tips to help keep you moving during the work day!