Five desk exercises to help with stress and tension

Desk exercises are super easy to do

woman sitting at desk stretching
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The majority of us spend an inordinate amount of time sitting at a desk - which is why it's so important to spend some time doing some desk exercises.

Whether we’re working from home or we’re in the office, these are important to make sure we don't end the day feeling like a desk-bound potato.

Why is sitting all day so bad for you?

Sitting in one position for long periods of time can slow the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and to break down body fat.

Being at a desk all day can also cause neck strain, poor circulation and an inflexible spine which can lead to a bad back and sore shoulders.

Our bodies just aren’t made for a life of desk-bound boredom. Unfortunately, winning the lottery isn’t likely to be on the cards so we have to keep up the day job - which often requires sitting at a desk, be it at home or at the office. So, here are a few ways to make it a bit healthier… 

The desk exercises that can help relieve stress 

London yogi and health fan Helen Faliveno has put together this easy-peasy five-step guide to relieving and releasing stress while you're at your desk…

1.  Neck rolls 

Sitting up nice and tall, take a few gentle head rolls clockwise and then anti-clockwise. Being really mindful with the neck joint, and work into any areas of tension. 

2.  Hand and arm stretches

Placing the palms onto the desk, fingers pointing towards you, straighten the arms and slowly push into the hands, then flip the hands over and repeat. Be careful not to push too hard if you have wrist problems. This will stretch through the fingers, hands, forearms and into the upper arms. 

3.  Chest exercise

Interlacing your hands behind you, draw the shoulder blades together, lift the chest up and look up. Squeeze the palms of the hands together to open out the chest a little more. 

4. Spinal twists 

Bring your left hand to the right knee and your right hand onto the back of a chair. 

On an inhale lengthen through the spine and on the exhale use the core muscles and leverage on your knee to twist around and look behind you. Keep both sit bones grounded and only go as far as feels good.

5.  Hip opener 

Bringing one ankle onto the opposite knee, let gravity draw the knee of the bent leg downwards and open up the hip. For a deeper hip opener slide the foot up higher into the hip crease. Do on both sides for around the same amount of time, for balance.

Sagal Mohammed

Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty.  She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few.