Desk Stretches

If you work at a desk for much of the day, make sure that you give your body a break at least every hour or so by getting up and doing the circulation booster sequence (see below). In addition, try to do a selection of the stretches on the following webpage at least three times during the working day, aiming to do each exercise at least once a day. Perform the exercises that you find most helpful more frequently. Remember that the same cautions apply to these exercises as to those that you do at home: do nor force a stretch beyond the point of comfort, stop if you experience any pain and breathe normally.

Shoulder stretch
Push your chair back from your desk. Interlace your fingers, palms down in front of you, and raise your arms until your hands are with your shoulders. Breathe in slowly and deeply and at the same time push your palms away from you. Feel the stretch in your shoulders and upper back as your lungs fill with air. As you breathe out, slowly lower your arms. Repeat a further four times and then do the same exercise with your hands raised above your head.

Circulation booster
When you stand up from your des-take several deep breaths and then walk around for a few minutes. As you do so, shake your arms at your sides to loosen your fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders. Then slowly rise up onto your toes and equally slowly lower your heels to the floor again. Repeat this five times before sitting down again or continuing some stretches.

Side-stretch
Sit tall with your pelvis tilted correctly. Tighten your abdominal muscles. Link your hands and raise them above your head. Bend slowly a few degrees to your right until you feel a stretch down your left side. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the centre. Now bend to the left. Do a total of five bends in each direction.

Forward stretch
Sit towards the front of your chair with your legs slightly apart. Sit tall and tense your abdominal muscles. Keeping them tensed, tuck your chin to your chest and slowly curl forward, imagining your spine slowly stretching and opening, starting at your neck and working down to your lower back. This movement should take you at least ten seconds. Allow your arms to stretch down between your knees. Try not to rock forward through your hip joints and keep your pelvis tilted correctly. Breathe normally, relax and enjoy the stretch for 10-20 seconds.

Seated rotations
Sit upright on your chair. Turn to grasp the left side of the chair back with your right hand. Rest your left hand on the back of the chair. Gently rotate your body further to the left by pulling with your right hand against the chair back. Keep your pelvis facing forward. Hold the stretch for ten seconds, then reverse your hand positions and rotate to the right. Repeat twice.

Pelvic rocking
This exercise can be done unobtrusively at your desk at any time. Sit tall with your shoulders relaxed. Tip your pelvis forward so that your back arches. Then tense your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis in the opposite direction Repeat these rocking movements a further five times.

Seated knee hug
Sit tall with your feet on the floor and knees hip-width apart and tilt your pelvis correctly. Tense your abdominal muscles and raise your right knee. Grasp your raised leg around the shin and pull it gently towards your chest. Hold for ten seconds. Repeat with the left leg then repeat the sequence twice more.