Desk exercises to help relieve tension and stress

Desk exercises

For most of us who work 8-hour days at home or in the office, ‘work’ means sitting on an office chair in front of a laptop or computer. According to the latest statistics, in Britain, over 22 million people sit on a chair and stare at a screen for at least 40 hours a week on at least 220 days of the year. So it is no surprise that more people are experiencing back pain. To counteract this issue, it’s worth making time during the day to do small amounts of exercise to help strengthen and relax your back muscles.

Here are nine exercises that are easy to do at your desk without feeling like the whole office is staring at you.

1. Exercise: raise your shoulders to lower stress

  • Roll your chair back slightly so you are no longer as close to your desk, and stay seated.  
  • Keep your body relaxed and place your feet flat on the floor.
  • Now raise your shoulders high, close to your ears, and tighten your neck muscles – breathe in, hold your breath for 3 seconds and then slowly and deliberately lower your shoulders while breathing out. Repeat 10 times. 

2. Exercise: stretch and relax your neck  

  • Move your right hand over your head and place it on your left ear, then gently pull your head down towards your right shoulder – remember, gently!  
  • Focus on your breath and on letting go. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and then do the same thing on the left side.  
  • You will notice a difference in how relaxed your neck muscles are, particularly if you are holding tension in your neck after sitting for too long, or if long periods of sitting have shortened your neck muscles. 

3. Exercise: seated twist for more flexibility

  • Begin sitting up straight on your chair, perhaps even a little straighter than usual – your spinal discs will thank you for it.  
  • Breathe in and, keeping your hands close to your sides, raise your arms over your head and then, while breathing out, turn to the left.  
  • While you turn, bring your arms down and use your right hand to hold on to the outer edge of your left knee.  
  • Stay in this position for 15 seconds before switching sides. This exercise will lengthen your spine and keep your mind and body flexible. 

4. Exercise: Upper trapezius stretch

  • Sitting with your back straight, tilt your head sideways toward your shoulder. 
  • For a larger stretch, drop your shoulder blade on the opposite side toward the floor. 
  • Hold for 10 seconds. 

5. Exercise: Shoulder rolls

  • Keep your back straight and your chin tucked in. 
  • Roll your shoulders forward, up, back, and down in a circular motion. 
  • Repeat 10 times, then reverse. 
  • Repeat twice on each side. 

6. Exercise: Hamstrings stretch

  • Remaining seated, extend one leg outward. 
  • Reach toward your toes. 
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. 
  • Repeat on the other side. 

Remember to do this one leg at a time, as doing this exercise with both legs out can cause back issues.

7. Exercise: Hip and knee flexion stretch

  • Hug one knee at a time, pulling it toward your chest. 
  • Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds. 
  • Alternate. 

8. Exercise: Wrist stretch exercise

  • Hold your hand open, facing down and move your wrist from side to side until a stretch is felt at each extreme. 
  • Hold at each side for a slow count of 10. 
  • Repeat 3 – 5 times.

9. Exercise: Wrist rotate exercise

  • Hold your elbow close to the side of your body, and slowly rotate your palm upwards and then downwards until the stretch is felt at each extreme. 
  • Hold each way for a slow count of 10. 
  • Repeat 3 – 5 times. 

Want to Improve your physical and mental well-being in the New Year?   

The Redmill Wellness app hosts relaxation and sleeps coaching programmes to help you with just that. Set weekly programmes, stay accountable and even join up with a colleague or friend to complete mindfulness or exercise challenges. 

Learn more about the Redmill Wellness app here: https://bit.ly/3e4H6I7 

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