5 easy exercises for desk workers to keep back pain at bay

Who has never looked up from the desk only to realize their back kills because of stress? Here are 5 easy and effective stretching exercises to help keep your back in good shape when an eight-hour day of desk work calls your name – and promises not to play nice.

5 easy exercises for desk workers to keep back pain at bay

If you sit at a desk for most of the day, you know the tightness, pain and strain that can result in your back. Truth be told, that's not likely to get better with time. So unless you plan on switching careers to something that doesn't have you glued to a desk and chair, a burst of daily stretching exercises could be your best bet. Here are five you may just want to try...

1. Reclining leg curls

Everything in your body is connected, so many of the most effective back exercises focus on a different part of your body. This quick exercise should be done while lying on a firm, flat surface, i.e. the floor—not the bed.

  • Lie on your back with your knees pointing up.
  • Curl one leg toward your chest and hold it by the shin for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat with your other leg, then do both legs at the same time.

This helps stretch your back, especially in the less-used lower region.

2. Swivel stretches

  • Another good lower-back exercise also has you start flat on your back with your knees up and your feet flat.
  • Slowly swivel both knees to one side, while keeping your back as flat as possible. Hold that position for 10 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side. After three repetitions, you're done.

3. Arches

  • Starting on your hands and knees, keeping your eyes on the ground, gently arch your back upward while contracting your abdomen.
  • Hold that position for 10 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and arch your back inward by letting your abdomen sag toward the floor, also holding for 10 seconds.

This is a good, full-spine workout to prevent painful compression.

4. Posture pulls

  • Sitting on a stool or other firm seat that allows for a full range of motion, sit up straight and slowly pull your shoulder blades toward your spine.
  • Hold that position for 10 to 15 seconds, then relax.
  • After two to three reps, roll your shoulders forward, then backward to test your comfortable range of motion.

5. Wall pushes

A surprising amount of back and shoulder pain originates in the hands.

  • To address this early stage of carpal tunnel syndrome, press your palms to a wall with your fingers pointed to the floor.
  • Gently press inward while keeping your arms stiff and hold for 10 seconds.

This will help you reduce arm and shoulder strain, as well as feel trouble spots that may benefit from massage.

You owe it to your back

You owe it to your back to spend a few minutes every day keeping it in good shape. These exercises are all equipment-free and easy to do at home or in your office.

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