Share this page
Pin It

Fabio Comana, 3 Desk Moves to Stretch You Out

Sitting at a desk all day can be hazardous to your health. Poor posture and body mechanics in the workplace are a common cause of back pain, and frequently repeated motions for prolonged periods, such as working at a computer or talking on the phone, can lead to repetitive stress syndrome. Remember to take periodic rest breaks and incorporate these three exercises throughout your work day to help alleviate the discomfort of working at a desk.

1. Elbow Curls (stretches chest, strengthens back)

Sit upright in your chair with both feet placed firmly on the floor, hip-width apart. Engage your core and abdominal muscles to support your upright torso and maintain neutral alignment of your spine throughout the exercise. Raise your arms out to your sides to shoulder height, and then bend your elbows to touch your knuckles to your temples. Inhale and squeeze your shoulder blades together, holding the contraction for one to two seconds. Next, exhale and move your elbows forward to touch each other in front of your nose. Keep your knuckles on your temples at all times and avoid any forward movement of the head during the curl movement. Repeat 12 to 15 times.
2. Back and Traps Stretch

Sit upright in your chair away from your desk with both feet placed firmly on the floor, hip-width apart. Engage your core and abdominal muscles to support your upright torso. Extend your arms out in front at shoulder level and interlock your fingers so your knuckles face away from you. Begin by first gently exhaling and slowly lowering your extended arms to lightly touch your lap. Relax and slowly return your extended arms to shoulder level, gently exhale again and attempt to reach farther forward with your arms, slowly bowing your back and allowing your torso to flex forward. Relax and repeat the entire exercise 12 to 15 times.
3. Hip Flexor Stretch with Upper-arm Movement

Position the backrest of your chair against the desk for support and place your right foot on the seat pan and extend your arms overhead. Slowly lean forward by shifting your weight forward, but maintain a slight backward lean from the hips to keep your torso vertical. Gently arch your back, extending your arms back behind your head. Hold the end position for one second, relax and return to your starting position. Repeat the same movement, but this time lean to the right as you shift your weight forward. Hold the end position for one second, relax and return to your starting position. Continue this cycle for eight repetitions, and repeat with the opposite leg.


By Fabio Comana, M.A., M.S.
Eye Breaks

Working at a computer or reading over documents all day can be hard on the eyes. Try these techniques to reduce eye strain.

Micro-breaks:
Change your depth of focus for 20 to 30 seconds every 10 to 15 minutes (look at an object at least 20 feet away).

Mini-breaks:
Perform one eye exercise (for example, near-far focusing, rapid blinking, following your finger with your eyes) for 20 to 30 seconds every 30 minutes

Maxi-breaks:
Take a 10-minute workstation break every two hours