Exercises to do at your desk

August 13, 2014

How did you get on with Workout at Work day? Hopefully the exercises encouraged you to become more active during the working day!

Many of us sit at a desk and don’t move around much throughout the day. Sitting for long periods of time can cause aches and pains, so to help ease these here are a few simple desk-based exercises that can easily be incorporated into your day. (Courtesy of the CSP)

Please remember:

– Be careful if you use a chair with wheels!
– None of these exercises should cause you to feel any pain. If you feel pain stop immediately.

Perfect posture

It’s easy for slouching at a desk to become a habit. Good posture is important to keep the back, neck and other joint healthy.

Tips to improve your posture:

  • Sit with your bottom at the back of your seat, resting against the back of your chair for support
  • Rest your forearms on the desk with your elbows at a 90° angle
  • Relax your shoulders, making sure not to round or elevate them
  • Ensure both your feet are flat on the floor and that your knees are level with your hips – adjust your chair and use a footstool if necessary.
  • To keep you upright, imagine there is a piece of string running through your body, out of the top of your head and attaching you to the ceiling.


Sitting for long periods of time with flexed hips and knees can cause the hamstrings (the muscles in the back of the legs) to become tight.

Try the following exercise to relieve this:

  • Sit on the edge of your seat and stretch your leg out in front of you.
  • Point your foot upwards with your heal resting on the floor
  • While looking straight ahead, lean slightly forward from your hips. You should feel a gentle stretch (but no pain) along the back of your leg.
  • Hold this for 20 seconds, repeat 3 times and then swap legs.


The quadriceps (muscles on the front of the thighs), can become tight from spending too much time sitting. Over time this may increase the risk of injury to the knees and lower back.

To stretch out the quads:

  • Stand in front of your desk, placing your left hand it to help with balance.
  • Stand on your left leg and raise your right heel towards the buttocks.
  • Hold your right foot with your right hand and you should feel a stretch on the front of your thigh.
  • Hold for 20 seconds, repeat 3 times and then switch legs.

Chest stretch

Using a keyboard with outstretched arms and hands can lead to rounded shoulders and a slumped posture. This can mean the chest muscles become tight and the muscles between the shoulder blades are underused.

To correct this imbalance try the following:

  • Sit forward from the back of your chair
  • Point your thumbs up to the ceiling and open out your arms to the side and draw your shoulder blades together until you feel a stretch in the front of your chest. Be careful not to raise your shoulders.
  • Hold for 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.

No matter whether your condition was caused by a sport, work accident or otherwise, we welcome the chance to serve you.

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