Kick start your exercise….

Do you find your shoulders, lower back, hips or neck ache whilst sitting at your desk? These aches and pains are often a sign of underuse and can impact our ability to concentrate and work efficiently. We appreciate time is of the essence during a busy working day so we’ve collated a few exercises that you might find helpful to keep you moving whilst at your desk.

Here are a few examples of how you and your colleagues could get moving at your desks…

The chest stretch


Working on a keyboard with arms and hands outstretched can lead to rounded shoulders and a slumped posture. Your chest muscles can become tight and the muscles between your shoulder blades might be underused.

The following stretch will help correct this muscle imbalance:

                  • Sit forward from the back of your chair
                  • With your thumbs pointing towards the ceiling, open your arms out to the side until you feel a stretch in the front of your chest. Ensure your shoulders are back and down
                  • Aim to switch on the muscles between your shoulder blades by gently drawing them together. You should not feel pain or tingling in your arms
                  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat three times.

Seated spinal rotation

An image of a man doing a seated spinal rotation

                • While seated, cross your arms over your chest.
                • Grab your shoulders.
                • Rotate your upper body from the waist, turning gently from left to right as far as you can.
                • You should feel a tension on both side of your lower back as it stretches out.

The leg stretch


Spending too much time sitting can make the muscles on the front of your thighs (quadriceps) tight. Over time, this can leave you at greater risk of injury to your knees and lower back.

Try the following to stretch out your quads:

  • Stand in front of your desk and place your left hand on it for balance
  • Standing on your left leg, raise your right heel towards your right buttock
  • Grab hold of your right foot with your right hand. You should feel a stretch along the front of your thigh
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, repeat three times and then switch legs.

Shoulder shrugs

An image of a person doing shoulder shrugs

              • Gently lift your shoulders.
              • Let them slowly fall.
              • You should feel tension being released as your shoulders drop.

The sit stretch


Long periods of sitting with your knees and hips flexed can cause the muscles at the back of your legs (hamstrings) to shorten and become tight.

Address this problem with the following stretch:

  • Perch on the edge of your seat and stretch your right leg out in front of you
  • Rest your heel on the floor with your foot pointing up
  • Lean forward slightly from your hips and look straight ahead. You should feel a gentle stretch but no pain along the back of your right leg
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, repeat three times and then swap legs.

Shoulder extension

An image of a person doing a shoulder stretch

              • Hold both arms above your head.
              • Link your hands with your palms facing upwards.
              • Reach as high as possible.
              • You should feel your shoulders stretching.
              • Repeat this movement and you should find it get easier as you repeat.

Wall press


Press-ups are a great way to build some fitness training into your workday. All you need is a flat surface – and it doesn’t have to be the office floor:

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Stretch out your arms and rest your palms against the wall at shoulder-height and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart

Take a couple of tiny steps back, engage your tummy muscles, and slowly bend your arms at the elbows. Keep your back and neck straight and look at the wall in front of you

Lower yourself until you are a couple of inches away from the wall, then push yourself back up to your starting position

  • Make sure you lead with your chest so your arms are doing the work. Do not allow your back to arch
  • Aim for three sets of ten press-ups. To make this exercise more challenging, move your legs further back.

For the full article from BUPA click here and the CSP click here.