Perhaps you chose a desk job thinking that it wouldn’t cause you nearly as much strain as someone that does manual labor. But guess what? You’re just as susceptible to getting aches, pains, and even injuries as an executive spending 40 hours or more behind your desk.
Luckily, there is something you can do about it! Office stretches are a great way to help your muscles and joints, relieving the aches and pains that come with being tethered to your desk all day, week after week. If you’re been experiencing pain, give these easy office stretches a try. They take no time at all and will help you feel better immediately as well as down the road.
Plus, you’ll be more productive than ever when you feel good, which means you can finish work faster and spend more time doing the things you really love.
We’ve created this list of 20 office stretches that will make you feel great and release the tension, allowing you to boost your work productivity. You should aim to take a break to do these stretches every 45 minutes to an hour. Hold them for a minimum of 15 seconds before moving on to the next stretch.
1. Up and Down Neck Stretch
This simple neck stretch technique is great for relieving you from the tension you get from staring into your computer screen for hours on end. First, tuck your chin down toward your chest. Then, slowly move your head back to a normal position. Now, look up. Hold it until you feel the stretch.
2. Side to Side Neck Stretch
Your head doesn’t just move up and down though, does it? We want you to get the best office stretch in your daily routine, so after you move up and down, try this move.
Sit straight up at your desk and tilt your head toward the side, like you’re trying to touch your ear to your shoulder. Don’t move your shoulder though! With the same arm your ear is now above, gently apply pressure downward to your head so you can feel the stretch. Switch sides to complete a full rep.
3. Shoulder Extension Stretch
For this office stretch, get out of that desk chair and push it away. Stand up straight and raise your arms in front of you, then clasp your fingers together. Slowly bring your linked arms over your head. Hold it, then slowly lower your adjoined arms so they’re straight in front of you again.
4. Behind the Back Stretch
Loosen up everything that’s tight in your upper body with this office stretch! You’ll be more refreshed than after your morning coffee!
Keep standing and stretch both arms behind you as far as you can. Link your fingers together and stick your chest out as you raise your arms up as high as is comfortable. This is a stretch, not a gymnastics move so go only to the point that you can.
There’s no need to look graceful, and should you be worried others will see you, close the door to your office or perform this one in one of the empty meeting rooms.
5. Shrug It Off Stretch
Taylor Swift sang about shaking it off, but for office workers like you, you need to shrug it off. You can stand or sit for this office stretch, whatever works for you.
Simply raise your shoulders up at the same time toward your ears, as if you’ve just been asked if you can turn that project around in less than an hour, only do it repeatedly. When lowering your shoulders, roll them back at the same time to really loosen things up.
6. Trunk Twist Stretch
Sitting at your desk day after day can really mess with your posture. And let’s face it. You need good posture to command confidence in your team and with clients. Don’t be a slouch!
Sit up in your chair and twist from your waist without rotating your chair (if it has wheels) so that you try to grab the back of your chair with both hands. Switch sides for a full rep.
7. Lower Back Love Stretch
Help improve your posture, your confidence, and the way you feel at work with these two office stretches that will work in tandem to help you rock out more hours at work.
First, sit in your desk chair with your back straight. Then use your hands and pull your knee up toward your chest. Switch legs for a full rep. After doing as many of those as you can, lower both feet to the floor and sit up. Then, lean over your knees like you dropped your pen again but this time, hug your legs while you’re down there and enjoy the release.
Are you an executive that suffers from lower back pain?
8. Legs for Days Stretch
All that sitting in your office chair can do a number on your circulation. You probably already know how doctors recommend you move around after sitting for a while, but that’s only part of it. You’ll lose mobility if you don’t keep them limber.
Sit down on the edge of your chair and extend both legs out in front of you on the floor. Lean forward, bending from your waist to bring your chest toward your knees. You’ll feel a glorious stretch through the back of your legs.
9. Butt-Kicking Quad Stretch
Your quads are one of the biggest muscles in your lower body. Help them help you by giving them some stretch time during office hours.
Get up out of that chair and stand on one foot. As you balance, lift your other leg back so your heel kicks your butt (no actual or repeated kicking is necessary). Grab that foot with your hand and hold it, then switch legs.
10. Torso Stretch
Here’s another office stretch we know you’ll love for helping keep you from hunching back down at your desk.
You’ll get a nice stretch through your entire upper body and your muscles will breathe a sigh of relief before you dig into your next project.
Stand or sit, whatever feels best, then lace your fingers together and reach them up toward the ceiling, breathing deeply as you do. Exhale and open your arms, flourishing them with drama back down to your sides (drama optional).
11. Triceps Stretch
You might be surprised how much relief you get at the office if you just take the time to stretch your triceps.
Raise one of your arms up above your head with your hand facing forward. Bend that arm at the elbow so your forearm goes behind your head. Take your other hand and grab that bent elbow, giving a little bit of pressure to stretch that backside of your arm. Do the other arm next.
12. Forearm Stretch
It’s likely that you’ve never thought about how typing affects your forearms. We’re right, aren’t we?
You don’t need to be a master typist either to suffer the consequences of tight forearms from working at your desk all day.
You can sit or stand for this office stretch too. Take one arm and stretch it out in front of you with your palm facing downward. Then take your other hand and use it to gently pull your fingers toward you. Not too hard! You don’t want to sprain anything! Just pull enough where you feel the stretch. Then release and switch arms.
13. Wrist Stretch
Tension also builds in your wrists. You know this to be true if you have carpal tunnel. The last office stretch starts to help that feel better but this one will seal the deal and make your boss of your own domain.
Stand up and put your palms flat on your desk, then push down to stretch your wrists. Again, not too hard. You don’t want to upend your desk and cause a scene.
14. Hip Flexor Stretch
Shakira says your hips don’t lie, and we have to agree. Your hips get tight from all the desk chair action, day in and day out.
Stand up, put your right leg back at least a foot behind you, more if you can manage it. Bend the knee on your back leg in a lunge-like fashion. Then lower yourself like the elevators in the lobby, keeping that knee at a 90-degree angle and over your ankle. Squeeze your glutes while doing it to maximize your gluteus maximus and make your rearview more enticing while you’re at it!
15. Seated Hip Stretch
Another one of the office stretches you should be doing for your hips is this one, which you can do right now while you’re reading this instead of answering emails about TPS reports.
As you sit there, cross your right ankle over your left knee, then sit up tall. Lean forward slowly, keeping your back straight and reaching out with your torso. You’ll feel the stretch in your right glute as well as your hip. Deepen the stretch by pressing down on your right knee. Switch sides for a full rep.
16. Inner Thigh Stretch
Here’s one you’ll want to do in private, especially if you’re in a skirt. Even in pants, you’ll raise a few eyebrows.
Stay seated for the starting position and open your legs wide with your toes out. Lean forward and put your elbows on your thighs. Keep your back straight and engage your abs. Now, press forward as you use your elbows to push your thighs further out to hold the stretch and feel the stretch.
17. Wall Push and Stretch
If you do pushups when you actually make it to the gym, try a modified stretch version of it for an office stretch.
Instead of going for the full pushup effect though, you’re going to push with one arm and then twist your torso away from the wall as you push. The result is a glorious shoulder stretch and a great way to release the tension.
18. Big Hug Stretch
Stressful times at work could do with a cuddle. And they say if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with. All alone in your office, that means you’ve got to be the one to love yourself. Show that love with a great big hug. It’s basically what it sounds like.
Pretend you’re hugging someone else but close the gap and wrap your arms around your own shoulders. It will open up the shoulders and back, and you will see how the power of a hug can brighten your day at the office, even if you’re only hugging yourself.
19. Working Warrior Stretch
If you’ve ever gone to a yoga class outside of work (either willingly or being forced by a friend), you’ll likely recognize this as the exalted warrior pose. But it also serves you well as an office stretch because it opens up the chest, the shoulders, the legs, the abs, and the hips.
Stand up straight and step back with one leg into a lunge. Then raise both arms above your head and feel that stretch.
20. Rockette Kick Stretches
Whether you were born to dance or cringe at the mere mention of it, using some techniques the Rockettes use to master office stretches will bode you well.
Simply kick each leg up just over your desk one at a time while sitting at your desk. Hold each leg up as high as you can for 2 seconds each before releasing. Kick as high as you can without kicking your desk.
So get off your duff, or merely sit on it and enact some of these office stretches. We’d love to know what you think or if you started a desk exercise movement in your office, fell out of your chair and drew the snickers of other employees, or if you came up with a new office stretch everyone will love! Got one? Leave it for us in the comments below!