Sitting in the same desk chair for hours is a recipe for sore muscles. Take a few moments each workday to relieve your body’s tension with these fast desk stretches.

By Real Simple Editors
Updated May 01, 2019

It's easier to do some stretching at work than you think. With these easy steps and subtle examples, you can stretch your back, neck, wrists, ankles, and mor right in your seat without your coworkers noticing and giving you funny looks.

What You Need

  • chair

Follow These Steps

  1. Stretch your neck
    Stand or sit up straight in your chair. Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder so you feel a mild stretch on the left side of your neck. Relax and let your left shoulder drop, then place your right hand on your head and pull down gently. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on left side.

    Tip: Even mundane tasks like typing put stress on your body. Try to stretch at least once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and again at the end of the workday.
  2. Tuck your chin to your chest
    Drop your head down and tuck in your chin. Slowly turn your chin toward your left shoulder, and then slowly turn toward your right shoulder. Repeat this move up to 10 times.

    Tip: Don’t make complete circles by tilting your head back, as this can put stress on your spine.
  3. Stretch your shoulder
    Stand or sit up straight in your chair, with your shoulders down. Keeping your head and neck stable, slowly roll your shoulders forward, up, and then back to complete a full circle. Concentrate on creating as large a circle as possible without scrunching your shoulders toward your ears. Repeat the circle 10 times in one direction and then 10 in the opposite direction.
  4. Stretch your feet
    Sit comfortably in your chair and place your right ankle on your left knee. Slowly circle your right foot clockwise 20 times, then counterclockwise 20 times. Repeat with the left foot.
  5. Stretch your back and chest
    Sit or stand up tall with your arms out to the side, elbows bent, palms forward, and fingers pointed upward toward the ceiling. Keeping your spine straight, press your arms back until you feel a slight stretch in your chest and shoulders. Hold this for 30 seconds, then rest. Do this 10 times.
  6. Stretch your forearm and hand
    Extend your right arm out in front of you with your palm facing forward and your fingers pointed to the ceiling. Use your left hand to stretch your right hand’s fingers and palm back toward you as far as they will comfortably go. Hold that position for 30 seconds, rest, and repeat on your left hand.