Stretches for a desk body (deskercise) / desk friendly exercise

As we begin a new year, we’re pretty sure we all have a couple of resolutions we have committed to! Hopefully one of your goals this year will be to look after your physical health. Our bodies are finely tuned mechanisms and need to be treated with care. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are some of the best ways in which to look after our bodies. However, in the course of everyday life, we unfortunately aren’t able to spend all our time doing what we would like to – with many of us needing to spend hours behind our desk either working or studying. This then poses the question – exactly how can we take care of our bodies during these times? 

Looking after your body at your desk is far easier than you may think and requires only a few minutes per day.  Regular fascia and neural stretches at your desk will prevent trigger points and muscle spasm from forming due to prolonged periods in static positions.

Another factor to consider is one’s position at your desk, with the wrong posture capable of devastating effects. Correct desk posture is therefore an excellent starting point when it comes to looking after your body during prolonged working hours.

Below please find some suggestions for both stretches (easily done at your desk in a few minutes) and correct desk posture. 

Firstly, let’s look at both your posture and desk set-up: 

  1. Both feet should touch the ground.
  2. Knees should be bent at 90 degrees.
  3. Hips should be higher than your knees.
  4. Sit right back in your chair, with the back rest of the chair supporting the natural curve of your back.
  5. The back rest should be slightly reclined.
  6. Your elbows should be bent at 90 degrees and positioned just above the desk.
  7. Computer screens should be at eye level or at such an angle that the strain on your neck is minimal.

For prolonged periods of time at your desk, we highly recommend you consider the following stretches. The aim – to prevent one’s muscles from remaining in a static position for extended periods of time as it places pressure on the muscle, surrounding fascia and neural tissue.

Work your way from neck to feet with these easy stretches:

  1. Neck rotations

Keep your head upright and your shoulders down.

Gently turn your head side to side (like saying no).

Try and move past your shoulder on a side and you will feel the muscle stretch on the outside of your neck.

  1. Upper shoulder and neck stretch

Sit on one hand and lower your shoulders.

Tilt your head away from the hand you are sitting on (towards the opposite shoulder but a bit forward). You can use your free hand to gently tilt your head and stretch your neck.

You should feel the muscles in your neck and upper shoulder area stretch.

Hold the stretch for 5 seconds then release. Repeat three times. 

  1. Shoulders

Sitting at one’s desk is a frontal plane and forward position making backward shoulder stretches very important.

Stand up from your chair, grab your hands behind your back and lift your arms as high as you can.

You should feel the frontal shoulder muscles stretch.

  1. Lower back muscles

Sit up straight, cross your arms over your chest and rotate your shoulders from side to side keeping your back straight.

  1. Hips and legs

Standing up and sitting down will assist in the blood flow and relaxation of the hip and leg muscles. Straighten your knees and rotate your ankle (or write your name with feet and legs straight) to keep the blood flowing through your legs and feet.  This will prevent swelling and cramping.

We strongly recommend doing these exercises once every few hours (it will literally only take about 5 minutes to complete). Make the effort! It will benefit you tremendously in addition to increasing work and concentration capacity.

Should you experience any muscle or joint pain, there are tried and tested products able to provide quick and effective relief. Deep Heat comes in a variety of options – from handy rubs or spray and effective heat patches for muscle and back pain. 

Article written by EPT – The Ultimate Sports Recovery Experts