9 easy stretches to combat work-from-home aches and pains

July 20, 2021

Working from home can take a toll on your body over time, causing chronic aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, back, and arms. If you’re spending hours hunched over a computer, these simple desk stretches will help alleviate stiff joints and muscles, improve your posture, and prevent long-term injuries.

9 easy stretches to combat work-from-home aches and pains

[Photo Credit: New Africa]

Neck and Shoulders

1. Neck rolls: With your shoulders relaxed, tilt your head forward and look down, slowly roll your head over toward the right side and hold, then roll toward the left and hold. Roll back and forth a few times, keeping your movements slow and fluid.

2. Shoulder shrugs: Shoulder shrugs are a great desk stretch that can help release tension in your shoulders and stretch your upper back. Raise both shoulders up towards your ears as you breathe in deeply, then drop them as you exhale.

Upper Body

3. Overhead reach: From a seated or standing position, reach your right arm over your head and tilt slightly toward the left while looking up at your palm – you should feel a nice stretch in your side body and neck. Hold for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.

4. Tricep stretch: Raise your right arm up towards the ceiling and bend it so that your palm is touching your left shoulder blade. Use your left hand to gently pull your elbow towards your head. Hold the stretch for about 10 seconds and then repeat with your left arm.

5. Chest opener: Clasp both hands behind your back and pull your chest outward as you raise your chin. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.
6. Torso twists: Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Bring both arms to the right side of your chair and rotate your body towards your arms until you feel a gentle twist in your spine. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.


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Lower Body

7. Hamstring stretch: Sit away from your desk with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Straighten and extend your right leg outward with your heel on the ground and reach towards your toes with both arms. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Bring your right leg back and then straighten out your left leg, reach and hold.
8. Hip openers: A ‘figure four’ stretch can help alleviate tight hips, making it a great stretch for desk workers. Sit away from your desk, bring your left leg up and place it on top of your right thigh, with your left foot sitting comfortably just above your knee. Maintain an upright posture or – for a deeper stretch – lean forward slightly and hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides.

9. Calf raises: Stand up straight and place your hands on the back of your desk chair for support. Raise your heels off the floor so that you’re balancing on your toes and feel a stretch along the back of your legs, hold for five seconds, and then lower.

Want to take your deskercise routine to the next level? Step away from the computer screen and get outside for some fresh air and vitamin D. Try doing your desk stretches outside over your lunch break, or go for a walk during a phone meeting to incorporate some light cardiovascular activity into your workday. Spending time outdoors is good for your mental health and can even help lower your stress and increase your ability to think creatively.

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