6 Ways to Stretch and Release Tension at Your Desk

Anytime you work at a desk, there is the potential to tense up, and become stiff. A little stretching while at work can be a good thing, improving your health and even your mood. Sometimes, all you need to re-energize yourself and find your focus again is to spend a minute or two stretching. (Of course, it is also important to remember that stretching doesn’t take the place of getting up every so often and walking around a little bit.)

If you are looking for a way to refresh yourself, and to release a little tension while working at your desk, here are 6 ways that you can accomplish this goal:

1. Neck Roll

One of the most basic of stretching exercises, the neck roll is simple — yet effective. Tilt your head to the right. Then, slowly and smoothly, let it roll forward and then up to the left. Pause. Roll it back the other way, dropping your head forward, and then rolling back toward the right. Now, go full circle, rolling your head all the way around, first one way, then the other.

2. Neck Stretch

This neck stretch starts with a simple head tilt. Place your left hand on your right shoulder, and then tilt your head to the left, bringing the left ear down toward the left shoulder. Hold for a count of eight on each side.

3. Shoulder Hunches

I actually learned this from a yoga instructor. Sit up as straight as you can. As you take a deep inhale through your nose, hunch your shoulders up toward your ears. As you exhale deeply through the nose bring your shoulders down, rolling them back as you settle them. A great way to relieve tension.

4. Shoulder Circles

Create circles with your shoulders. Start by going up, back, and then down. Do this five to eight times. If you want, you can add shoulder circles going the opposite direction as well: Up, forward, and then down. Make sure to make your motions as smooth as possible.

5. Back Stretch

This one is something that I like doing in my home office, although I don’t know how comfortable I’d feel doing it in an office full of people. Sit on the edge of your chair, as tall as you can. Bring your legs slightly apart — enough that you will be able to lean down between them. You can either leave your feet flat on the floor, or stretch them out before you, heels down on the floor, toes pointed up (don’t lock your knees).

Roll down, starting by putting your chin to your chest. Let your arms fall between your legs as you roll, vertebrae by vertebrae, down. Exhale deeply through your nose as you do so. Once you have curled down, inhale, curling slowly back up with your head coming back up at the end.

6. Side Stretch

Inhale through your nose, reaching your hands above your head as you sit up straight. Interlace the fingers if you would like. Then, exhaling through your nose, lean your body to the side, stretching your side (don’t turn your head). Inhale back up to center, and then exhale to the other side.

Combining deep breaths with many of these stretches can also help you release tension through out your body, and rejuvenate you while at work. Take the time to do these stretches, and you can improve posture, release stress, and help you focus better.

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