Top 7 Exercises for Busting Desk-Related Pains

Posted on March 5, 2024


Bust desk-related aches and pains for good with these exercises recommended by Flex co-founder Heather. Ideal when the majority of your working day is spent hunched over a computer screen while sitting at a desk, and neck, shoulder and back aches and pains start cropping up. These exercises can be done throughout the day depending on where and when you’re feeling the need.

1) Stand up and sit down — no hands
Stand up and sit down repeatedly without using your hands. Super simple but this stretches the body and utilizes a lot of key muscles.

2) Substitute a Fitball for your desk chair
This is great for lower back pain. The Fitball activates all the muscles in the back, legs, glutes and abs to stay balanced.

3) Release the neck and shoulders
For the shoulders: Inhale deeply and shrug the shoulders up to the ears and squeeze them tightly. Release and let them drop heavily. Repeat several times.
For the neck: Hold the bottom edge of your chair seat firmly with the fingers to traction down the shoulders. Nod the head down, slowly tilt to the right, then left stretching the neck in different positions.

4) Release the upper body with a torso twist
Inhale and as you exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of your chair with your right hand, and grab the arm of the chair with your left; use this chair hold to traction your twist, looking over the shoulder to involve the neck. Gently release and repeat on the other side.

5) Work the abs and stretch the legs
Hold the sides of your chair and extend the legs straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Flex and point, or circle the ankles, repeating 10 times. Try to repeat without holding on to the chair with the hands.

6) Stretch the shoulders
Extend one arm out straight in front and with the other hand, hold the elbow of the outstretched arm and pull it across your chest, to release the shoulder and upper back muscles. Repeat on the other side.

7) Stretch the hamstrings and back with a forward fold “leg hug”
Sit on the edge of a chair and stretch the legs out in front of you, keeping the feet on the floor. Lean over and bring your chest onto your legs and knees, letting the arms dangle loosely to the floor. Next bring your hands behind your legs, right hand grasping left wrist, forearm (or elbow if you can reach that far), left hand grasping the right. Feel the stretch in your back, shoulders and neck. Breathe into the stretch and stay as long as possible.

Balance your sedentary hours with regular Pilates too and you’ll find yourself understanding your body better, self correcting your sitting posture and banishing those aches and pains for good. Get Flex’s All Access Summer Pass at One Island South for 30% off regular rates – check here for more details.

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