Tight neck and shoulder muscles and stiff legs are very common when sitting at a desk all day. Muscles, especially back muscles can become weak from being hunched over a laptop or computer on a regular basis, and this can lead to poor posture.
We wanted to share some simple stretches that you can do whilst sitting at your desk and which will help prevent the stiffness that you might have when you stand up after being sat down for a few hours. These are also great if you use a phone or ipad regularly too or if you spend long periods of time driving.
Remember, it’s very important to have regular breaks, a stretch every 25 minutes is recommended, but even just 5 minutes every hour will help. Make sure that you look away from your screen, stand up, move and stretch.
When doing the stretches, make sure that you are sitting up straight and not hunching your shoulders or rounding your back.
- Tilt your head slowly to one side, so that your ear is moving towards your shoulder. Do 4 – 6 per side.
- Tilt your head slowly to one side, as above, but then turn slightly to look at your chest. Repeat on the other side. Do 4 – 6 on each side.
- Tilt your head slowly to one side, then slowly take your head down to the front of the body and roll up to the other side. Repeat 4 – 6 times then finish with the head leaning to the front and hold that position for 10 seconds.
- Shrug your shoulders up and then let them drop. We often hunch our shoulders without realising. Repeat 4 – 6 times.
- Roll your shoulders backwards and repeat 10 times.
- Take one arm across your chest, keep it straight and keep the shoulder down and not lifted. Use the other hand to pull it in towards your chest and tip your head to the opposite side. This is a great shoulder stretch. Hold for 10 seconds then repeat on the other side.
- Take one arm over your head and bend so that you are reaching down your back. Use your other hand to gently press the elbow towards the head. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Have your arms straight down by your side with your palms facing backwards and gently push your arms down and back (small movements). Repeat 10 times.
- Keeping your arms straight, lift away from the body slightly and have palms facing forwards. Again, take arms backwards with small movements. Repeat 10 times.
- Clasp your hands together behind your back. Straighten your arms and gently lift them up. Hold for 10 seconds. Lean forward and hold for 10 seconds.
- Reach your arms above your head and clasp your hands together. Lean back slightly and hold for a couple of seconds. Repeat 4 – 6 times.
- Cross your arms over your chest and hold your shoulders. Twist gently to one side then the other to ease out your lower back. Repeat 10 times.
- Place one hand on the outside of the opposite knee and the other behind you and twist gently. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Lean forward placing your hands on your toes. Hang and hold for 10 seconds.
- Raise your arms above your head and clasp your hands together. Gently lean to one side and then the other. Repeat 10 times.
- Place one ankle on top of the other knee, keep the foot flexed and, keeping your back straight, lean slightly forward and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
- Stand and take one leg behind, bending the knee until you feel a stretch in the front of the hip (like a reverse lunge). Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
- Scrunch your hands tightly and then release and stretch the fingers wide. Repeat 10 times.
Try to do a few of these stretches each hour. You can pick and choose throughout the day to make working at your desk easier and to improve your flexibility.
Caroline & Hannah xx