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10 Simple Stretches To Shake Off Desk Stiffness

10 June 2022

It's no secret that sitting at a desk all day can leave you feeling like a wooden plank. Your neck is stiff, your back hurts, and you can barely move your arms. But before you reach for the Ibuprofen, try these stretches to help shake off the stiffness. They're easy to do and will leave you feeling loosened up and refreshed. So get ready for some major muscle tension release with these ten simple stretches guaranteed to help get your blood flowing and loosen up those tight muscles.

#1 Shoulder Rolls (2 minutes)

This light movement opens up the shoulders and chest, countering the slumped position we adopt while sitting at a desk.
1. Sit up tall. Slowly lift your shoulders up towards your ears.
2. Roll your shoulders back and down.
3. Circle your shoulders forwards and up towards your ears.
4. Repeat a few times until your shoulders feel looser.

#2 Neck Stretch (1 minute)

This simple stretch will reduce tension in the neck and can be done easily at your desk.
1. Sit up tall. Lower your head towards the right shoulder. Avoid raising your shoulder or tipping your head forwards or backwards.
2. For a deeper stretch, place your right hand on the left side of your head, just above your left ear.
3. Lightly roll your head in a circle to stretch off your neck. Then repeat on the left side.

#3 Side Stretch (2 minutes)

This exercise helps to stretch out the side body, arms and backs of your shoulders.

1. Sit up tall and raise both arms upwards.

2. Hold your left wrist with your right hand.

3. Lean slowly to the right. Avoid tipping your head - lead with your arms - and only go as far as is comfortable.

4. Return to the centre. Then repeat on the other side.

#4 Down Dog (2 minutes)

Down dog is a great yoga position for relieving tension in the upper back, shoulders and legs.

1. Balancing on your hands and feet (with your feet at hips width apart), let your head go loose, straighten your arms and back, then push your tailbone up to the sky.

2. Pedal out the legs if they feel stiff.

#5 Cat Cow (2 minutes)

Stretch out your back and chest with this simple movement.

1. On all fours, arch your back with your stomach reaching for the floor, lift your gaze and raise your tailbone (in yoga this is called cow).

2. Arch your back upwards, tuck your head, lower your gaze to the floor, push the floor away with your hands and tuck your tailbone (this is cat pose).

3. Repeat.

#6 Cactus Stretch (1 minute)

This light stretch will loosen off your chest, shoulders, neck and upper back - how efficient!

1. Lift your arms up vertically. Slowly lower your arms out to the side into a cactus shape (your elbows will be creating a 90° angle). Point your fingers upwards and your palms forwards.

2. Look upwards and push your chest gently forwards. Tense your stomach to protect your lower back.

3. Raise your arms vertically again, then repeat as necessary.

#7 Lunges (5 minutes)

Tweak your lunge game for optimum stretching with this variation.

1. Lunge with a long stance to work into the thigh muscles.

2. Raise your arms and - if possible - bring your hands to meet at the top.

3. Gently push your chest forwards and tense your core to protect your lower back. Raise your gaze.

4. Repeat on the other side.

#8 Forward Fold (1 minute)

Release the tension in your neck, shoulders, back and legs with this stress-relieving posture.

1. Stand with your feet about hips distance apart. Fold forwards with your arms dangling towards the floor (or placed on the floor if your leg muscles are not too tight).

2. Bend your knees a little if the calf muscles are tight.

3. Let your head fall freely. Let go of tension in the shoulders.

4. Roll slowly upwards to avoid head rush. Repeat if necessary.

#9 Reverse Prayer Position (2 minutes)

This position may feel tricky at first, but it is so beneficial for stretching out your arms, wrists, shoulders and chest.

1. Reach your arms around behind you and bring your hands into a prayer position behind your back. Your palms should be together, your smallest fingers next to your back and your fingers pointing upwards. If this stretch is too deep, hold opposite elbows.

2. Hold for a count of four. Then repeat.

#10 Active Desk

Standing desks and desk bikes are great ways to keep the body active while you work. Standing and moving regularly helps to relieve pressure points, activate your leg muscles and boost your energy. FlexiSpot have many standing desks and active seating options to suit all budgets, tastes and spaces.

FlexiSpot’s Cycle Desk Bike V9 Pro

Sitting all day is not only bad for your body, but it’s also bad for your mind. Taking a break to move around and get your blood flowing can help clear your head and improve your focus. So the next time you feel like you can’t concentrate or you’re having trouble getting started on a project, try taking a short walk or doing some of these stretches to get the blood and oxygen flowing to your brain.