Feeling tired at work? Unmotivated? Stiff? Lacking good posture? Desk stretches are the perfect mini-breaks to sprinkle through your day. Try these desk stretches to get you feeling energized, focused and clear.
Desk Stretch #1
The Neck Stretch: Sit up tall in your chair and slide your right hand, palm down, under your right buttocks. Let your left ear hang towards your left shoulder and release your left arm towards the ground. In this desk stretch you can play with the positioning of your chin (in towards your chest, up towards the sky) to get at different parts of your neck. Explore what’s right for you. 5-10 deep breaths, then switch sides.
Desk Stretch #2
Desk Cat/Cow: Push your chair back about a foot from the desk. Place your hands on the desk and have both feet rooted to the ground. On the inhale, arch through your spine lifting your chin towards the sky. Energetically pull on the desk to allow for more length through your spine. On your exhale, press the hands down on the desk as you round the upper back towards the sky and tuck your chin in to your chest. During this desk stretch synchronize your movement with your breath. Inhale, arch and lift your spine. Exhale, round and tuck. Repeat 5-10 times with long deep breaths.
Desk Stretch #3
Wring out the Wrists: Stand up. Place your fingertips on the edge of the desk and allow your wrists to draw towards the floor (this may mean bending your knees or leaning into the desk). Do this for 3-5 deep breaths. Next, place the backs of your hands on top of your thighs with the fingers facing up. Draw your arms closer to your body as you stretch the tops of your wrists. Do this for 3-5 deep breaths. To finish this desk stretch, shake out your hands vigorously! Keep shaking, it’s moving useful fluid into your joints! Do this for 30-45 seconds, then release your hands.
Desk Stretch #4
Forward Fold: Sit up tall in your chair, with the chair 2-3 feet back from the desk, or turned to the side. Feet plant hip distance apart, arms rest by your side. Reach your chest forward beyond your knees, resting your torso on your thighs (or as close as you get) and releasing your head and neck. For a more intense version of this desk stretch, widen the legs and release your torso between your legs as far as feels comfortable. For an even more intense version of this desk stretch, stand up and move to a wall. With your heels and buttocks as close to the wall as possible, reach the chest forward as you release the head, neck and torso towards the ground in a forward fold. 3-5 deep breaths in whatever version is right for you.
Desk Stretch #5
Backbend: Sit up as tall as you can in your chair. This backbend can vary based on height, so notice if it helps to sit up on a pillow or a book (or two!). Ideally, the bottom of your shoulder blades are at the top of the chair. Hold on to the sides of the chair, or place hands on hips as you extend the spine long and bend back over the top of the chair. Be mindful to keep your low belly strong during this desk stretch to protect your lower back. Notice if it feels okay to release the neck, or if it feels more supportive to keep the neck engaged. If this desk stretch doesn’t feel quite right, you can always stand up and find a standing back bend by engaging through the core, and then lifting and lengthening from the upper portion of the spine. 3-5 breaths at a time, repeat 3 times (or more for extra energy).
Desk Stretch #6
Seated Twist: Sit up tall in your chair, finding as much length in your spine as you can. Twist to the right first, placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee. You can bring the right hand to the back of the chair and press gently into both hands to get even deeper in the twist. Stay for 3-5 breaths, and then switch to the other side.
Taking just a few minutes to breath and move the body in a desk stretch can reset your workday and reboot your whole system! Let us know how it goes, and if you have a favorite desk stretch to add to the list!