3 Desk Stretches for Better Posture

When you’ve been slouching at your desk for eight hours or more, your body inevitably suffers; tight hips and shoulders, a creaky neck and an aching back.

Leaving the office for an actual workout may not be feasible, but with some light stretching, you can reduce discomfort, relieve stress, increase energy and clear your mind — all from your desk.

Besides, studies show looking down at a smartphone or screen can add as much as 60 extra pounds of pressure on your spine, so daily stretches can also help you practice good posture.

And before you wonder if you’re going to need to change into your gym clothes, just know that each of these poses are work-friendly, meaning, you can incorporate them into your daily routine for a quick stretch at any time to feel happier and healthier.

1. Wrist and Finger Stretch

While sitting, take the fingertips of one hand into the palm of your other hand. Extend that same arm forward, at shoulder-height, and gently pull your fingers down toward the back of your wrist until you feel a slight stretch. Count to five or 10, then switch hands. This is a good exercise to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome.

2. Seated backbend

From a seated position, reach your hands a couple of inches behind your hips. Push into the chair, and reach your shoulder blades down and back. For optimal spinal alignment, keep your feet planted evenly on the ground. Stay for 3-5 breaths.

Hug your belly in as your chest lifts up and presses forward. Send your gaze up, and if you want, back (but be mindful of your neck!)

3. Seated Twist

Sitting in your chair with both knees facing forward, bring your left hand to your outer right knee. Sit up tall and activate your abs. Rest your right hand at your side or down by your right hip. On each inhale, sit up a little taller, and on each exhale, move your right shoulder back an inch as left shoulder moves forward.

Pull your left hip back as you twist to the right; you want the twist to stay in your lumbar spine. Also, don’t twist too far; you’ll know you’ve overdone it if it is challenging to keep a steady breath and a tall spine.

You can look toward the right, and eventually toward your right shoulder. Breathe here for a couple of counts, then repeat on the other side, toward the left.