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Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk

Sitting at a desk for hours at a time can lead to sore muscles, pain, injury and disability. Having good ergonomic practices is vital to ensuring you are safe and productive at work.

Experts recommend taking a movement break away from your desk at least every two hours for at least ten to fifteen minutes to allow you to re-energise, rehydrate, and stretch your body. This reduces fatigue of the postural muscles of the body and takes the load off the ligaments and joints.

Below are some effective stretching exercises:

Lateral Neck Rotation

  1. Place left hand behind back and rest right hand on top of head
  2. Gently lower right ear towards your shoulder OR look diagonally towards your right armpit. Use your right hand to guide your head’s movement
  3. You should feel the muscles on the left side of the neck stretch
  4. Repeat on opposite side

Neck Rotation

  1. Look straight ahead with arms hanging down at your sides
  2. Gently turn your head and look back over your shoulder
  3. You should feel the muscles at the opposite side of the neck stretch
  4. Repeat on opposite side

Shoulders (Front)

  1. Stand upright with your hands clasped together behind your back
  2. Gently lift your hands up towards the ceiling keeping your arms straight and body upright
  3. You should feel the muscles in the front of your shoulders being stretched

Shoulders (Back)

  1. Maintain an upright posture with one arm crossed across the front of your body
  2. Using the opposite arm, gently pull the elbow of the arm being stretched towards the opposite shoulder
  3. You should feel the muscles in the back of the shoulder being stretched
  4. Repeat on opposite side

Triceps­

  1. Maintain an upright posture while raising the right arm over your head and reaching down to touch the back of the left shoulder
  2. Grasp the right elbow with the left hand and gently pull the right elbow to the left
  3. You should feel a stretch in the back of the right upper arm
  4. Repeat on the opposite side

Standing McKenzie Back Stretch

  1. Place your hands on your buttocks
  2. Lock your knees straight
  3. Bend backwards pivoting at your low back just above your hands
  4. Hold 2 seconds
  5. Repeat 10 times

Forearm Flexion / Extension

  1. Reach out with the right hand in front of you, palm facing down and fingers pointing downwards
  2. Grasp the right hand (not fingers) with the left hand and gently pull the hand back
  3. You should feel a stretch in the back of the forearm
  4. Repeat with palm facing away from you.
    You should feel a stretch in the front of the forearm
  5. Repeat on opposite side

 

These short exercises are easy to integrate into your workday and can help to release stress that naturally builds up from sitting at a desk in the office or at home.

If you are an employer and are interested in our Workplace Ergonomic Assessment and Training services, get in touch today.

Rehab Management also offer an Ergonomics e-learning module which you can complete at your own guided pace. Find out more.

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