How to Stretch At Your Desk

For many of us, sitting behind a desk all day can result in any number of aches and pains. From the neck and shoulders to the lower back, by midweek we feel like arthritic seniors hunched over our keyboards, with posture that would irritate even the calmest of chiropractors. And we know you potato heads can relate!

Enter, Heather Andersen, pilates guru and studio owner of New York pilates. Anderson has provided us with some stretches to destress our necks, backs and shoulders, all of which can be done while sitting at our desks. Quite the efficient exercise, we’d say!

Try these four exercises out after your lunch break today, and you’ll be feeling like yourself again in no time!

From Heather Andersen 

Destress your Neck, Back and Shoulders at your desk.

Spine twist – Sitting, rotate all the way around to the right side. Be sure to tighten your abs and lengthen your spine as you rotate. Repeat on both sides.

Many of the muscles in your back run on diagonals, so a rotational stretch relieves discomfort when these muscles are tight.

Chest Stretch – Interlace your hands together behind your back, palms together, then gently straighten your arms as much as feels comfortable, drawing your shoulders apart and stretching your chest.

The pectoral muscles tend to tighten when we sit in hunched forward posture, which pulls your shoulders forward so you are stuck in “computer posture”. This stretch lengthens the pectoral muscles in the front, but also activates the back extensor muscles in the back, which help hold your torso upright in good posture.

Neck stretch – Sitting, put your right hand on the left side of your head, drawing the right ear down towards the right shoulder. You should feel a stretch through the left side of the neck and the left upper shoulder muscles. Repeat on both sides.

The upper trapezius muscles (the top of your shoulder/neck) get stuck on when we elevate our shoulders, common when stressed, or typing for too many hours!

Wrist Stretch – Extend your right arm forward palm facing away, fingers pointing down. Use the left hand to pull the fingers back toward your body.  Repeat with palm facing towards you, then with the other arm.

Typing uses many tiny muscles in the hands, wrists and fingers. These small muscles are prone to overuse and get super tight! By stretching them you increase bloodflow and decrease typing related discomfort.

For more ways to stretch see these yoga poses that help improve your posture, or read this to find ways to relax before bed