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Deskercise: Essential Stretches for the Office Worker

Deskercise: Essential Stretches for the Office Worker

, door FLOW Admin, 5 min. leestijd

Spending long hours at a desk can lead to stiffness, discomfort, and reduced mobility. Incorporating simple stretches into your workday can not only alleviate these issues but also enhance focus and productivity. Here's a guide to effective stretches you can do right at your desk.

Upper Body and Arm Stretches

Neck Rolls Relieve neck tension by gently rolling your head. Drop your chin to your chest, slowly rotate your head to the right, bring it back through the center, and then to the left. Repeat this sequence three times in each direction.

Shoulder Shrugs Lift your shoulders up towards your ears, hold for a few seconds, and then release them down. Repeat five to ten times to relieve upper back and shoulder tension.

Arm and Wrist Stretches Extend one arm out in front of you, palm facing up. With your other hand, gently pull the fingers down to stretch your forearm and wrist. Hold for 15 seconds, then switch arms. This is great for those typing for long periods.

Torso and Back Stretches

Torso Twist Sitting upright, place your right hand on the back of your chair, twist your torso to the right while holding the chair for support, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the left side. This stretch can help maintain spinal mobility.

Seated Forward Bend While seated, plant your feet firmly on the ground. Exhale as you bend forward at the hips, lowering your head between your knees while keeping your arms hanging loosely to the floor. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds before slowly rolling back up.

Lower Body Stretches

Seated Leg Extensions While seated, extend one leg out straight and hold for two to three seconds, then raise it as high as possible, hold again, and then lower it without letting it touch the ground. Repeat 10 times for each leg to promote circulation.

Ankle Rotations Lift one foot off the ground and rotate your ankle clockwise for five rotations, then switch to counterclockwise. Repeat with the other ankle. This can help reduce ankle and foot stiffness.

Additional Tips for Staying Active in the Office

Besides stretching, there are several other effective ways to stay active throughout the workday, which can further enhance your physical well-being and increase your productivity.

Regular Movement Breaks

Make it a habit to stand up and move around for a few minutes every hour. Taking brief walks around the office or even standing during phone calls can significantly reduce the risks associated with prolonged sitting. These small breaks not only help improve circulation but also refresh your mind.

Utilising Walking Pads

A walking pad or treadmill is an excellent way to stay moving even while engaging in work tasks that typically require sitting. Placed under your desk, a walking pad allows you to walk at a gentle pace while you work on your computer or participate in calls. This continuous movement can substantially increase your daily step count and reduce the health risks of sedentary behaviour.

Take the Stairs

Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator to get your heart rate up and strengthen your leg muscles. If possible, taking a quick trip up and down the stairs every couple of hours can be a great way to incorporate aerobic exercise into your day.

Final Thoughts

Integrating simple stretches and regular movement into your office routine can significantly enhance both your physical comfort and mental alertness. Exploring different ways to incorporate activity, such as utilising a walking pad or opting for a standing desk, can break the monotony of a sedentary workday. Consistently practicing these stretches and movements can diminish the health risks linked with prolonged sitting, boosting your energy and productivity levels. So, take those steps, literally and figuratively, to a healthier workday!


How long should I pause my work to perform these stretches effectively?

To effectively incorporate stretches into your workday without disrupting productivity, consider allocating 5 to 10 minutes every hour or two for these exercises. This short break is enough to perform a series of stretches that can relieve muscle tension and refresh your focus. It's manageable within most work schedules and often aligns with the natural breaks you'd take to grab a coffee or use the restroom.

Are there specific stretches recommended for people with pre-existing conditions like arthritis or sciatica?

For individuals with pre-existing conditions like arthritis or sciatica, it's essential to choose stretches that do not aggravate their symptoms. For instance, those with sciatica might benefit from gentle stretching exercises that target the lower back and legs, such as the seated spinal stretch or knee-to-chest stretches, which can relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Conversely, individuals with arthritis may find that warm-up stretches that gently move the joints through their range of motion before holding any static stretch can be particularly beneficial. Always consult with a healthcare provider or physical therapist to customise a stretching routine that safely addresses your specific health needs.

What are the benefits of using a walking pad beyond increasing step count during work hours?

Using a walking pad at work extends beyond just increasing your daily step count. Regular use of a walking pad helps improve cardiovascular health, aids in weight management, reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, and can enhance mental health by boosting mood and reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety. Additionally, walking while working can lead to increased creativity and productivity, as gentle physical activity helps maintain alertness and clears the mind, making it easier to tackle complex tasks.


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