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Simple exercise you can do at work

by Harry 5 minutes read

Last updated: 12 Aug, 2022

At work we often spend all day sitting in one position, usually failing to hold good posture too. This extended time without physical activity can tighten muscles and most commonly lead to lower back pain.

This list offers a few discrete stretches and exercises which only take a few minutes to perform, alongside a couple more active exercises. Some will be better suited than others depending on your workplace environment.


Stretching is a fantastic way to relieve muscle stiffness during long periods of inactivity. These four stretches are very effective in aiding good posture and combating the negative effects of sitting.

Desk stretch 4

Seated or standing back stretch

Sit or stand around one metre from your desk, hold your hands roughly shoulder-width apart and hold your arms straight out in front with your palms facing together. Place your hands on the edge of your desk in this position while keeping your back straight. Slowly lean forward, bending at the hip and bowing your head. Aim to push your chest towards the floor. Hold this pose for roughly 20 seconds, and slowly return to the start position. Try repeating this a few times and you should have eased some stress and tension from your back.

Dynamic chest stretch

In the same starting position, sit up tall in your chair or stand with both arms straight out in front of your body with your palms together. Slowly move your arms out to your sides while rotating your palms towards the ceiling. With flat palms, try pushing your thumbs as far backwards as is comfortable and hold this for ten seconds. Return to start position and repeat this a few times.

Standing lower back and hamstring stretch

For this one you’ll need to stand with roughly a metre of space around you. Begin by standing up tall with your arms out to the sides, take a deep breath in and then exhale slowly as you bend forwards at the hip and relax down towards the ground. Keep your legs and arms straight throughout the movement and relax down as far as is comfortable. Hold in the lowest position for around 20 seconds and return slowly to the start position. As always, repeat a few times.

Kneeling hip and thigh stretch

Stand with your back to your chair and lift one foot to place it on the seat of your chair and allow your knee to rest on your seat. Keep your other foot planted out in front of you for balance and hold your arms out straight in front of you. Gently push your hips forwards, keeping your chest pushed forwards and back straight. Hold for 20 seconds, relax and repeat for each leg a few times.

Mobility exercises

The mobility of our joints is just as important as stretching our muscles. The following exercises are ways you can quickly get things moving again after feeling stiff from a days work sat at your desk.

Desk stretch 2


This exercise is a simple body weight squat. Stand away from your desk with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back and chest straight, bend down at your knees and hips until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Stand back up to the starting position and repeat this a few times. This movement should greatly help improve mobility and reduce stiffness in your knees.

Shoulder complex

Remain seated and ensure your feet are flat against the floor, with the armrests in the lowest position. Sit up straight in your chair with arms straight out to the sides at shoulder height, bring them to the front keeping them out straight and then raise them vertically above your head. Pause at the top, reverse the movement, and repeat a few times.

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