If you’re like many, you’ve had to adjust to bringing our work life into our homes and do remote work. Although there are perks to working from home, such as skipping the daily painful commute and staying safe from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, sitting at your home desk all day can take a toll on your health.
It just takes 10 minutes to complete some stretches that can help you whether you have an aching back or a strained neck.
Here are 12 easy stretches for you to use to help alleviate stress or soreness during a long 9 to 5 workday.
Stretches at Your Desk
If you have a short five-minute break during an extensive conference call, doing a couple of stretches at your desk won’t hurt! Just make sure your camera is off in case you are wearing the classic remote work outfit – a dress shirt with your favorite pair of pajama pants!
This first stretch is quite simple but maybe the most important to do daily when sitting in a chair staring at your computer screen all day. You will find the most tension is right at the base of your neck, so completing stretches that help to alleviate tightness is important.
- To stretch your shoulder, do a couple of shoulder shrugs. Bring both your shoulders upwards.
- Then, drop your shoulders and repeat 10 times.
2. Shoulder Pull
This simple stretch not only helps to stretch out your shoulder but your back and upper arm.
- Take one arm and bend it behind your head, with your fingers touching the middle of your back.
- Take your other hand and use it to pull your bent elbow.
3. Tummy Twist
This is a great back stretch to do when you are sitting in your chair all day. It is best for easing stress in your spine and lower back.
- Be sure to sit tall on your chair without slouching. Place both of your feet on the floor in front of you.
- Twist your body to the left, taking your right hand and placing it on your left knee. Take your left hand and place it on the back of the chair. Hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Repeat this on your right side.
4. Back of Neck + Neck Circles
When you are working at your desk all day, your neck can easily feel tight and strained. Here are two neck stretches that will help you loosen up your neck and provide relief.
- First, to stretch out the back of your neck, lower your chin to your chest. Place your hand on the back of your head and gently pull your neck forward to feel more of a stretch.
- For neck circles, you will start in the same position as the previous stretch, Take your head and move it counterclockwise. Once you have gone around a full circle, go back around in the opposite direction. Repeat this 10 times in both directions.
5. Leg Extensions
We tend to forget about stretching our legs at our desks, but not using them can cause tension on your hamstrings.
- While sitting down, straighten your legs out in front of you. Place both of your hands on the sides of your chair.
- Then, fold your body towards your feet while keeping your back straight.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds at a time. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
6. Chest Stretch
For those who are proponents of slouching, train your body to sit up tall with this chest stretch.
- Put both of your hands behind your head. You can intertwine your fingers or place them on top of one another.
- Bring your elbows back as much you can while squeezing your shoulder blades back and downwards.
- Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
Stretches When Standing
Take a break from sitting at your desk and try standing for a few minutes. If possible, investing in a desk that can move up and down to allow you to stand when working can be very beneficial as well.
7. Teapot Stretch
- Start this stretch by placing your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your right hand on your right hip.
- Take your left hand and bring it above your upper body in a backward “C” shape.
- Hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 times on both sides.
8. Reach Up Stretch
You can do this stretch when sitting at your desk, but standing up can help stretch out your leg muscles as well.
- Start by placing your feet shoulder-width apart. Take both your hands and clasp them together.
- Bring them above your head while your arms stay straight. Stretch them upwards as much as you can.
9. Touch The Floor
This stretch is great to do when following up the “Reach Up Stretch”.
- Start with your arms raised above your head.
- Slowly lower your arms, keeping them straight, towards your feet. Remember to try to keep your legs as straight as possible. The goal is to try to touch your fingers to your toes.
- Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
10. Quad Stretch
- For this stretch, make sure to stand next to a wall to help you keep your balance. Lift your right leg behind you so that you are balancing on the other leg.
- Take your right hand and hold your right foot behind you. You can use the wall with your left hand to help keep balance.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other leg.
Stretch Those Hands
If your job entails typing out a plethora of emails, or you are completing the endless quarterly report, stretching out your hands can help alleviate stress on your finger joints. Try the following stretches that are geared at relieving hand and finger pain.
11. Stretch Your Fingers
- Place your hands in front of you, resting your wrists on the desk.
- Straighten out your fingers while separating them from one another until you feel a stretch. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds or so.
- Take your fingers and bring them back, but this time focus on bending your knuckles. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds.
12. Stretch Your Wrists
- With one of your hands, pull the fingers back of the other hand. Your hand should be palm out with the fingers going upwards.
- Hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat the stretch with the other hand.
Another wrist stretch you can do is to place your hand together in front of you, making sure your elbows are pointing out. Push your hands together to feel a stretch on the base of your wrist.
Staying healthy during remote work is key for well-being. Along with stretching in your sweats, remember to take time to stand up and walk around, even if it is just inside your house or around your neighborhood. Walking is a simple way to use body muscles that have been stagnant all day. For more inspiration around stretching at your desk, explore Tommy John’s visual guide below on 12 desk stretches for remote work and working from home.
Stacy Walden is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Siege Media. She has a passion for writing and loves creating content that covers business and lifestyle topics.