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Five-minute stretching exercises for the office

Five-minute stretching exercises for the office

Stretching at the workplace reduces stiffness in the muscles and joints associated with sitting for long hours

Being immobile at the workplace leads to bad posture and various health conditions. Performing stretching exercises is an easy remedy

Being immobile on your work desk for long hours could lead to many health issues, including neck and lower back pain, spondylitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and varicose veins. Taking breaks and performing some easy stretching exercises could ensure that things don’t escalate into painful and at times debilitating health issues.

“Stretches help to keep the muscles in a flexible condition,” says Prashanth BR, physiotherapist at Active Physiotherapy, Bengaluru, India. “It improves blood circulation and helps to maintain the flexibility and movement of the joints.”

There are various types of stretches that one can do to reduce the stress and stiffness on the muscles and joints caused by bad posture and improper ergonomics at the work desk. The focus areas include the wrists, neck, shoulders, hips, torso, back and legs. The stretches should be held for eight seconds and each stretch should be repeated two to three times.

Wrist stretches

  • Keep both hands straight at eye level. Then push your palm backwards by pulling the fingers with other hand. Repeat the same for the other hand.
  • Next, bend your wrist downwards and push the fingers of the bent wrist inwards with the other hand. Repeat the same for the other hand.

Neck stretches

  • Turn your neck slowly from left to right. Place your left hand (two fingers) on your left jaw line and gently push it towards the right. Repeat the same for the other side.
  • Tilt your head to the left by keeping your right hand on the right side of your face. Repeat the same for the left side.

Shoulder stretches

  • Rotate your arms, swinging it clockwise and anti-clockwise.
  • Keep your palms interlocked on the back of the head. Move your arms forward and backward, in a gentle flapping motion.

Hip stretches

  • Stand and place both hands on the hips and rotate slowly. Ensure equal reps in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions.
  • Place your hands on the hips and bend sideways (left and right).

Torso and back stretches

  • Torso twist: Place both hands on the back of the head while sitting on a chair and twist your upper body. Repeat the same for both sides.
  • Seated cat camel stretch: Sit on a chair and gently flex the spine backward and forward.

Leg stretches

  • Hamstring stretch: Stand up straight and place your right heel at an elevated platform. Extend your right hand and touch the toe bending forward. Repeat the same with the left leg.
  • Calf raises: Stand on a flat surface and move your heel up and down.
  • Quadriceps stretch: Stand up straight and lift your left leg backwards. Grab it with the left hand and pull it towards your glute. Repeat the same for the right leg.


  • Stretching at the workplace reduces stress on the muscles and joints, relieving stiffness.
  • Being immobile while working for long hours in front of the screen could lead to neck and back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and varicose veins.
  • The stretching exercises you do at work should cover the entire body, focusing on the wrists, neck, shoulders, hips, torso, back and legs.

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