Stretching at Your Desk

Back Stretches

Back Stretch: With your arms by your side soften the front of the hips to allow the torso to fold forward over your legs. Hold for 10-20 seconds.

Lower Back Stretch: Cross your legs with left leg on top, gently twist to the left, using right hand to deepen the stretch. Repeat on the right side with the right leg on top. Hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds

Hip Stretch: Sitting in your chair cross one leg over the other so that ankle rests just above the knee. Lean forward to feel a nice stretch in your hip and buttocks. Over time this one exercise can help with lower back problems and sciatica. Hold for 10-20 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Lower Back Stretch: Place palms in hollow of lower back focus on a point straight ahead while keeping chin down. Bend backward using hands to support lower back. Hold for 5-10 seconds and return to starting position.

Neck Stretches

If it is painful, or your neck just doesn't feel right, stop immediately. The start position for the neck roll: Your head is straight, and your gaze is forward. From the start position, very gently tip your head to your left. Then very gently, roll your head back into an extended position (eyes are facing the ceiling). This part of the neck roll challenges and strengthens the muscles on the back of the neck. With your head back, very gently roll your head to your right. Return to the start position with your head straight and your gaze forward. Repeat the stretch in the opposite direction.

Shoulder and Upper Back Stretches

Shoulder Shrug: Shrug or lift the tops of your shoulders up toward your ears. Hold the position for 2-3 seconds and then relax your shoulders and lower to the starting position. Repeat 5 times

Arm and Rib Cage Stretch: Interlace fingers then reach above your head with arms as straight as possible. Think of elongating your arms as you feel a stretch through arms and upper sides of rib cage.

Shoulder Stretch: Straighten left arm and with your right arm under the elbow pull your left arm across your body until you feel a good stretch in your shoulders.

Arm and Shoulder Stretch: Interlace fingers, and then straighten arms in front of you. The palm should be facing away from you as you do this stretch. Feel stretch in arms and through the upper part of the shoulder blades. Hold stretch for 10-20 seconds. Repeat at least 2 times.

Upper Back and Shoulder Stretch: With fingers interlaced behind head, keep elbows straight out at sides with upper body in a good aligned position. Now pull your shoulder blades toward each other to create a feeling of tension though upper back, shoulder blades and neck. Hold for 8 seconds and then repeat several times.

Back Scratch Stretch: With your left hand reach for your right shoulder blade using your right arm gently pull at the elbow until tension is felt. Repeat on the other side. Hold for 10 seconds.

Wrist, Arm and Hand Stretches

Wrist Stretch: Extend arm in front, palm facing away from your and your fingers pointing to the ceiling. With opposite hand gently pull the fingers toward you. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat on both sides.

Hand Stretches: Separate your fingers until tension or a stretch is felt. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and bend your fingers at the knuckles and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat first outward stretch once more.

Wrist and Forearm Stretch: Press hands together in front of chest; make sure your forearm is parallel to the floor. Gently bend wrist to the right and left. Hold for or 10 seconds.

Thumb Stretches: Place hand on desk, palm up. Touch thumb to little finger keep your hand and remaining fingers flat on the desk and hold for 5 seconds. Relax and repeat 5 times with each hand.

Give Your Eyes a Break

Resting eye breaks help prevent the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The American Optometric Association's list of CVS symptoms include: fatigue, headaches, dry eyes, tearing eyes, neck and shoulder discomfort, pain in and around the eyes, inability to maintain focus, progressive refractive changes, changes in color perception, and others. In addition to readjusting the setting of your monitor and lighting, it's also important to rest your eyes. Move your eyes off the screen and refocusing them on a distant object for several seconds, and also, blink frequently to keep the eye surface lubricated.

Eye stretches: Keeping head straight, look out of the corners of your eye to the right, then to the left, then down and finally up. Don't move your head, just your eyeballs. Don't hurry. Incorporate relaxation breathing. (Example: Breathe in deeply through your nose as you look right, breathe out through your mouth as you bring you eyes back to forward or neutral position). Keep your neck and shoulder relaxed throughout the stretching session.

Lower Body Exercises

Hip Flexion: Sit tall with the abs in and lift the left foot off the floor a few inches, knee bent. Place a hand on the knee and push downward while the upper leg and knee push upward. Hold for 2 seconds, lower and repeat for 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.

Leg Extension: Sit tall with the abs in and extend the left leg until it is level with hip, squeezing the quadriceps. Hold for 2 seconds, lower and repeat for 10 reps. Repeat on the other side.

Ankle Rotation: Sit tall with one foot off the floor circle ankle to clockwise and then counter clockwise. Do 10 circles in each direction and repeat with other ankle.

Abdominals Exercises

Side Bends: Hold a water bottle with both hands and stretch it up over your head, arms straight. Gently bend towards the left as far as you can contract the abs. Come back to center and repeat to the right.

Abs Twist: Hold the water bottle at chest level and, keeping the knees and hips forward, gently twist to the left as far as you comfortably can, feeling the abs contract. Twist back to center and move to the left for a total of 10 reps.