If you work at a desk, chances are you are spending eight hours or more here every working day. It is not good for our bodies to stay in any one position for too long; standing or sitting. There are lots of simple stretches you can do at or beside your desk. This will help reduce stiffness while boosting your energy and alertness. Fit some stretches in at regular intervals throughout the day – even if it’s just for a minute.

Our bodies are not designed to sit for long periods of time and when we do our muscles get tired. When deciding what stretches to do, it’s good to do stretches to target parts of your body which are prone to stress when working.


Stretching throughout your workday can help by;

  • Easing sore and stiff muscles
  • Relieving stress
  • Helping you focus
  • Improving your posture
  • Increasing your flexibility

Try these simple exercises, use the images as a guide.

1. Back extension

  • Do this is standing, grasp your hands together behind you and push your chest out.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or more.

2. Neck forward

  • You can do this one sitting or standing.
  • Let your head drop forward and look down at the floor.
  • Gently place your hand at the top of your head and put slight pressure on, this will increase the stretch through the back of the neck.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or more.

3. Neck left and right

  • Do this sitting or standing.
  • Keep looking straight ahead, let your right ear drop down towards your right shoulder, hold here.
  • Use your right hand to put slight pressure on and increase the intensity of the stretch.
  • Repeat on the left side.
  • Again, hold for 30 seconds or more.

4. Elbow pullover

  • Reach both of your arms overhead, bend at your elbows, place your right hand onto your left elbow and left hand onto your right elbow. Lean-to the left side from your torso.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or more.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

5. Shoulder over

  • Reach both of your arms overhead, bend at your elbows and take the arms behind the head.
  • Place the right hand on the left elbow.
  • Try to reach your left hand down your back as far as possible, keep the elbow in place with your right hand.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or more.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

6. Shoulder across

  • Bring your right arm across the front of your body.
  • Keep your right elbow straight or extended.
  • Take your left arm and place it underneath your right arm, use your left arm to pull the right arm towards your body.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or more.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

7. Shoulder back

  • Do this in standing.
  • Find a vertical space such as a door frame where you can place one hand on a surface.
  • Keep the arm straight, step forward to feel a stretch at the front of your chest.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or more.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

8. Bridge Stretch

  • Reach both arms overhead and interlock the fingers.
  • Keep your elbows straight
  • Reach up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or more.

9. Forearm and Wrist

  • Place your right arm out in front of you with your elbow straight and palm facing down.
  • Move your wrist to make a ‘stop’ sign with your hand.
  • Use your left hand to put some pressure on.
  • Hold for 30 seconds or more.
  • Turn your forearm over so that your palm is facing up, now move your wrist so the palm faces you.
  • Use your left hand to put on some pressure. Hold for 30 seconds or more.
  • Repeat both with the left side.

Choose the exercises which feel best for you, stretch the areas of your body which feel stiff.

Why not challenge yourself to do three stretches every hour today?


To learn more about office setup and good ergonomics principles, you can reach out to Fit for Work at to talk about how an ergonomic programme within your office can increase productivity, increase staff satisfaction, improve staff retention and reduce sick leave.