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stretches to do at your desk

Stretch for Success: 10 Exercises & Stretches To Help Improve Your Posture

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Working from home has been a major change in many people’s life during 2020. One of the downsides may be the increased sedentary time. Unless you have committed to a daily exercise routine, you may lose activities such as walking to your car and walking into the office, doing a flight of stairs to get in your building, or rushing over to a meeting down the hall. With winter on the way, it may be even more difficult to get in a walk outside at lunch. Here are ten stretches and activities that you can do to improve posture throughout the day, increase your activity level, and decrease pain from constantly sitting.

1. WALK!

This simple activity can make a major difference throughout your day. However, when pressing to make a deadline or engaging in meetings throughout the day, this may be difficult to remember. Some advice that I usually give to patients is to set an alarm on your phone. Depending on your schedule, I advise people to set an alarm for every 20-60 minutes. When the alarm goes off, commit to just doing one lap around your home. This will allow you to disengage from a chronic seated posture, allow your eyes to have a quick break from constant screen time, and incorporate light aerobic activity.


2. Neck Side Bend Stretch

To stretch out the muscles in the side of the neck, use your arm to gently bend your head to the side. You can use your opposite arm to grasp the chair to stabilize your other shoulder and increase the stretch sensation. Perform 2 times for 30 seconds on each side.

stretches to do at your desk


3. Neck Side Bend Stretch (Modified)

You can modify the above exercise where, instead of bending your head straight to the side, move your nose toward your armpit. You should feel a stretch in the side of your neck, but also toward the back of your neck and head. Perform 2 times for 30 seconds on each side.

stretches to do at your desk


4. Retraction to Improve Posture

Pinch your shoulder blades back and hold the squeeze for three seconds. Perform 30 times. Make sure to just bring your shoulders straight back and not shrug them.

stretches to do at your desk


5. Hamstring Stretch

This can either be performed in standing or sitting. Either way, make sure one knee is straight and lean your trunk forward. You should feel a stretch down the back of your thigh. Perform 2 times for 30 seconds on each side.

stretches to do at your desk


6. Trunk Rotation Stretch

Cross one leg over your opposite knee. Use your elbow to push off your knee and apply an increased stretch in your trunk. Perform 2 times for 30 seconds on each side.

stretches to do at your desk


7. Wrist Extensor Stretch

Keep your elbow straight and with your opposite hand, push your palm toward your forearm as you feel a stretch in the top of your forearm. Perform 2 times for 30 seconds on each side.

stretches to do at your desk


8. Wrist Flexor Stretch

Keep your elbow straight and with your opposite hand, move your knuckles toward your forearm as you feel a stretch in your forearm. Perform 2 times for 30 seconds on each side.

stretches to do at your desk


9. Side Bend Trunk Stretch with Arm Overhead

Lower one arm toward the floor and lift your opposite arm straight up in the air. You should feel a strong stretch in the side of your trunk. Perform 2 times for 30 seconds on each side.

stretches to do at your desk


10. Posterior Shoulder/Triceps Stretch

Push your elbow backward so you feel a stretch in the shoulder and upper arm. Perform 2 times for 30 seconds on each side).

stretches to do at your desk


As a result of sitting at your workstation throughout the day, it is not uncommon to experience postural-related pain. This can manifest as neck pain, mid-back pain, or low back pain. Perform these ten activities throughout the day to decrease your risk of experiencing pain while at your desk. If you notice that you are having pain from constant sitting, do not hesitate to contact your local physical therapist at Athletico for more information. Physical therapists can assist with modifying ergonomics at your workplace, improving your postural strength or flexibility, and increasing your activity level so that you can decrease your pain. Schedule your free assessment today. Free assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

Physical therapy is usually the thing you are told to do after medication, x-rays or surgery. The best way to fix your pain is to start where you normally finish – with physical therapy at Athletico. Schedule a free assessment in-clinic or virtually through a secure online video chat where our team can assess your pain and provide recommended treatment options.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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