6 Desk Stretches for Improved Posture and Wellbeing. Hutton Health

6 Desk Stretches for Improved Posture and Wellbeing

17th October 2023

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In a world dominated by screens and endless to-do lists, it's no secret that many of us spend the majority of our waking hours hunched over desks, peering into computer screens, and plowing through work tasks. The modern work environment has transformed, and our bodies are paying the price.

I spend hours sitting at my computer most days. If I sit for too long without moving, I notice the aches and pains starting to set in and my focus and concentration levels drop.

Whether you're striving to minimize discomfort, supercharge your concentration, or simply infuse more vitality into your daily routine, desk stretches can transform your workday and enhance your overall wellbeing.

Sitting at a desk for extended periods without moving can lead to various discomforts and health issues.

Here are some common niggles and health problems associated with prolonged sitting:

  1. Back Pain: Sitting for long durations can strain your lower back, leading to discomfort or pain.
  2. Neck and Shoulder Pain: It is common for people to have rounded shoulders and a neck forward position while they hunch over their screens. This poor posture while sitting can cause tension in your neck and shoulders.
  3. Wrist and Hand Discomfort: Typing or using a mouse for extended periods can lead to wrist and hand pain or discomfort.
  4. Eye Strain: Staring at a computer screen for too long can cause eye strain, dryness, and blurred vision.
  5. Leg and Hip Pain: Sitting without movement can lead to discomfort in the legs and hips, especially in the thighs and buttocks.
  6. Reduced Blood Circulation: Staying seated for prolonged periods can impede blood circulation, leading to numbness and tingling in the legs and feet.
  7. Muscle Stiffness: Lack of movement can cause muscles to become stiff and less flexible.
  8. Weight Gain: Sedentary behavior can contribute to weight gain and obesity over time.
  9. Increased Risk of Chronic Health Conditions: Extended sitting is associated with an increased risk of various chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
  10. Mental Fatigue: Prolonged sitting can lead to mental fatigue and reduced concentration.

Taking regular breaks to move during your work day can help mitigate these niggles. Moving your body doesn’t need to take a long time or leave you too hot or sweaty to hop on your next call. A 2-3 minute stretch can do wonders for your mind, body and health.

Here are 6 easy desk stretches to do today:

Neck Stretches

  • Extend one arm down your side, pulling your shoulder down away from your ear.
  • Gently bend your head toward the side, pulling your ear toward your shoulder.
  • Straighten your head then repeat on the other side.
Neck Stretches

Shoulder Shrugs

  • Sit up tall in your seat, pulling your shoulders back (it is common for your shoulders to roll forward when you are working at your desk.  Imagine pulling your shoulder blades together in your back when you sit tall)
  • Raise your shoulders towards your ears.
  • Hold for 3 seconds then release and slowly lower.
  • Repeat 10 times.
Shoulder Shrugs

Shoulder Circles

  • Sit up tall.
  • Place your hands on each shoulder (right hand on right shoulder, left hand on left shoulder)
  • Draw large circles with your elbows stretching out your shoulders.
Shoulder Circles

Spinal Twist

  • Sit tall with your feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart.
  • Place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh.
  • Place your left hand behind you.
  • Turn to look over your left shoulder.
  • Hold for 30 seconds then return to the start.
  • Repeat on the other side.
Spinal Twist

Chest Stretch

  • Place both hands on the small of your back.
  • Squeeze your elbows together you to open up and stretch your chest.
  • Hold for 30 – 60 seconds.
Chest Stretch

Back Stretch

  • Clasp your fingers together in front of your chest, with your palms facing you.
  • Imagine stretching your arms around a giant balloon.
  • Gently drop your chin to your chest, pull your shoulder blades apart and stretch your back.
  • Hold for 30 – 60 seconds.
Back Stretch

Regularly stretching at your desk can help combat the aches and pain that can come from spending hours sitting at your desk each day.  Stretching during the workday also help to relieve stress and improve your circulation.

This yoga mat from Decathlon is one of my favourites to use for stretching at home. 

Desk set up checklist

Desk set up checklist

Ensuring your work and desk is set-up effectively can help keep your body moving freely and pain free.

Use this checklist to help ensure proper ergonomics:

  • The top of your computer screen should be inline with or slightly above your eye level.
  • Your office chair should support your entire spine.  It is worth trying a number of chairs to find one that is supportive for you.
  • Your back rest should have a slight recline, approximately 10-20 degrees from vertical.
  • Your hips and knees should be comfortably bent at about 90 degrees.
  • Your feet should be flat on the floor or on a stable footrest. This is a great foot support to help raise your feet to a comfortable level.
  • You should be sitting approximately an arm’s length from your screen.

Working at a desk for hours a day make your body feel stiff and sore. With the many pressures, tasks, video calls and deadlines at work, it can be difficult to take regular breaks during the working day.

With a busy work schedule, taking a few moments to stretch at your desk can help keep niggles at bay and help to improve your health and wellbeing.

Not sure where to get started with training? Hutton Health provides a structured programme and live workouts from the comfort of your home!


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