Easy desk stretches for home working 

As many of us continue to work from home due to COVID-19, it is important we stretch throughout the day as stretching helps us keep a range of movement in the muscles and joints and reduces the chances of injury or pain. We have put together a list of simple desk stretches you can do from your home office. 

When we sit, we use less energy than when standing or moving. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with several health concerns including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels which make up metabolic syndrome. Sitting for long periods of time every day can also increase the risk of more serious health concerns like cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Any extended periods of sitting, such as at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a screen can be harmful. An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of serious health issues similar to the risks posed by obesity and smoking. Fortunately, this analysis of data from more than 1 million people found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderate physical activity a day countered the effects of too much sitting.

The benefits of stretching throughout the day

  • Increased range of movement
  • Controls posture fatigue
  • Improves comfort
  • Reduces the risk of injury
  • Burns more calories which might lead to weight loss and increased energy
  • Physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, the ability to move and your mental well-being, especially as you age


Desk stretches you can do at home 

Desk stretches are a great way to relieve tension while sitting at your home office for hours each day.

Types of desk stretches to try at home from your home office could include:

Arm Extension

  • This stretches the front of the shoulders
  • Stand with feet apart, keep upright and raise arms straight behind with palms out until stretch is felt
  • Hold for five seconds and repeat twice


Neck Rotation

  • This helps prevent tightness in the upper shoulders
  • Sit up straight and turn your head to look over your shoulder
  • Repeat five times

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Wrist Flexion and Extension

  • This helps prevent tension in the forearms and wrists
  • Straighten one arm ahead with palm down
  • Support hand comfortably with the other hand and add a gentle stretch either up or down
  • Hold for five seconds and repeat twice


Circling Arms Backwards

  • This helps prevent stiffness in the shoulders
  • In a sitting or standing position, place fingertips on shoulders and make large circles backwards with your elbows
  • Repeat five times


Lumber Extension

  • This helps reduce lower back fatigue
  • Stand with your feet apart and hands on your lower back
  • Breath out and gently bend backwards using your hands to support your back
  • Do not use the hips or knees
  • Repeat five times

Arm Elevation

  • This helps reduce tension in the upper back
  • Sit up straight, keep elbows locked and raise both arms up ahead of you, palms facing each other
  • Try and get up to, or past your ears
  • Hold for five seconds and repeat twice

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Other ways to prevent aches and pains while home working.

There are many other simple ways to prevent aches and pains while home working including:

  • Regularly vary work tasks, looking at the organisation of the working day
  • Take breaks in between on-screen activities. Make sure these tasks involve movement, stretching and changes to the body position
  • Trying to stand during some tasks and moving away from the workstation, for short periods, where possible every 20-30 minutes
  • Go for a walk on your lunch break
  • If your organisation has access to adjustable desks, then you may find this beneficial to allow you to sit and stand throughout your workday


How the Doctors Clinic Group can help

Our Occupational Health company, Maitland Medical has over 20 years’ experience in providing Occupational Health Support across a variety of different industries in the UK.

Occupational Health can help with advice and support to both the employee and the employer when dealing with musculoskeletal disorders by providing a practical and tailored approach. Our occupational health team provide information regarding possible contributing work or personal related factors and potential underlying causes. Advice regarding correct posture and workstation set up can also be suggested.


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