12 of the Best Low-Impact Desk-Friendly Stretches

June 24th, 2021

Sitting or lying down for hours can provide a lot of comfort for busy office workers—but it comes with a costly and dangerous price. Committing to adding low-impact desk-friendly stretches into your routine could be the answer. Let’s admit it: it’s very tempting to just sit down and conserve your energy, especially during a tough workday. In fact, the majority of adults in the UK are guilty of being sedentary for at least six hours every day. This can explain the aches and pains that you feel on your shoulders, back, and joints. You can even increase your risk for chronic diseases and premature death if you don’t take action, literally. Read on for low-impact desk-friendly stretches that you can try today.

Thus, people are implementing various strategies to combat the sedentary lifestyle, starting from counting their daily steps to improving their office setup. For instance, this article for standing desks states that ergonomic office furniture is rising in popularity to encourage more movement in the office. Instead of sitting for eight hours (or more) every day, workers can stand and stretch their legs as they’re fulfilling their duties. And, according to this guide, standing desk converters are also another great option for people who want to stay physically active. They allow you to smoothly transition between sitting and standing. You can even use these height-adjustable desks as a platform for your office tools as you incorporate desk-friendly exercises into your day. Squeeze in the following low-impact workouts into your workday and see the amazing results for yourself!

Upper Body Workouts

Feeling a lot of aches and pains in your arms, neck, and shoulders? It’s time to stop yourself from hunching over a computer by doing a few upper-body workouts. By strengthening this part of your body, you can improve your posture and relieve yourself from what could potentially be debilitating shoulder and back pain! You can even elevate your workout by investing in dumbbells, which are affordable exercise equipment that don’t take up a lot of space. These free weights can also be used in a wide variety of movements, enabling you to target small muscle groups and to strengthen your wrist muscles. low-impact desk-friendly stretches are the way forward.

Yes, you can lift—and do it near your desk—through the following exercises:

1. Arm Circles

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your arms until they’re levelled with your shoulders. Make small circles in a forward motion for 20 times before going for the opposite direction. If you want to challenge yourself, add some dumbbells while doing this exercise.

2. Bicep Curls

Grab heavier weights for this exercise and hold them in front of your thighs. Make sure that your palms are facing out before you bend your elbows and move the weights towards your shoulders. Lower your hands slowly, then repeat the bicep curls.

3. Triceps Dips

Use a stationary chair to support yourself for this exercise. Make sure that your back is just a few centimetres away from the edge of the chair. Grip the ends of the chair before lowering yourself and bending your elbows to a 90-degree angle. Push yourself back up and do at least 20 sets of this exercise.

Lower Body Workouts

Beat the sedentary lifestyle by dedicating at least two days a week to strengthening your legs. Even young adults can experience chronic joint and muscle pain if they don’t exercise their lower body after sitting or lying down for a long period of time. By improving your lower body strength, you can also boost your athletic performance and strengthen your bones.

So stand up from your chair or move away from your desk and get your hips, thighs, and legs moving through these low-impact desk-friendly stretches:

1. Squats

Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart. Move your hips back and bend your knees until it has formed a 45- to a 90-degree angle. You can use your office chair to gauge if your hips are low enough! Slowly stand up and repeat the exercise. Do at least 20 sets.

2. Reverse Lunges

From a standing position, step one of your feet backward. Gently lower the knee of your back leg until it is a few centimetres away from the ground. Stand up and bring your feet together before repeating the lunge on the other leg. Do at least ten sets on each leg.

3. Seated Leg Raises

Sit at the edge of a chair and extend your legs in front of you. Grip your chair as you lean back and raise your legs in a horizontal position. Hold for three to five seconds. Lower your legs and repeat the sequence at least twenty times. These target your legs and your core.

Low-Impact Desk-Friendly Core Exercises

Speaking of core, it's important for those who want to correct their posture. It can be pretty hard to be mindful of your posture when your mind is focused on an important project. However, having a poor posture and sitting on an uncomfortable office chair would easily lead to back pain. By working on your core strength, you can maintain good posture and protect your back from injury.

Strengthen your back and build a stronger core by doing these low-impact desk-friendly stretches regularly:

1. Oblique Twists

You can use a swivel chair as a support for an easy oblique twist. Sit on the chair while holding the edge of your desk. Tighten your core before using your side abdominal muscles and your hips to move from left to right. Try to do 20 reps of this exercise.

2. Boat Crunches

Sit on the floor (or your office chair). Lean back slightly and bend your knees and lift your legs up until your shins are parallel to the floor. You can press your palms on the floor or grab the edges of your seat as you lean further back and extend your legs forward. Then, bring your knees closer to your chest and repeat at least 10 times.

3. Seated Scissor Kicks

Sit on the edge of your chair and lean slightly backward in the same position as the boat crunch. Slowly lean back as you move your legs in a criss-cross direction, while also slowly bringing your legs down. Come back up once you've reached the floor and do a few more reps.

Low-impact Desk-friendly Yoga Stretches

Want to relax after a long workday? Make your body feel good by doing easy yoga stretches by your desk. This will help soothe your tight muscles after you’ve sat or stood up for a long period of time. Most of all, yoga will encourage you to release any tension through mindful breathing exercises and slow, gentle movements.

Reward yourself by doing these easy seated low-impact desk-friendly stretches:

1. Crescent Moon

Raise your arms and bring your palms together over your head. Inhale as you lift your chest, then slowly exhale as you bend towards your right. Stay in this position for two deep breaths. Inhale as you come back to a straight position. Repeat the process on the other side.

2. Cat-Cow Stretch

Sit on your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Put your palms on your thighs and inhale as you bring your chest forward, arch the back, and raise your head to the ceiling. Exhale to round your spine, suck your navel in, and look down. Repeat five times.

3. Seated Twist

Place your right hand at the back of your chair. On an inhale, gently twist your chest and your abdomen to the right side. Do three deep breaths before returning to a neutral position. Place your left hand at the back of your chair and repeat the process.

These 12 low-impact desk-friendly stretches are super easy that you can do them at your office desk! Sneak in a few workouts during your workday to improve your health and your productivity.

By Jhana Brooklyn

Want to learn more about Workplace Wellbeing? The Isbourne has you covered. With our bespoke Workplace Wellbeing plan, we can get your workplace feeling less stressed and more productive in no time.