Stuck at work? Try these stretches at your desk

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Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

As the typical office worker sits in a desk chair for eight hours per day, such behaviour can increase the risk of obesity as well as cause back pain, poor posture, leg cramps and sore shoulders.

But there are exercises you can do right at your desk to help improve flexibility and strength, with Natalie Ziegler, a Pilates instructor, explaining that a few moves is all it takes to relieve tension in your neck, shoulders and back from all that typing.

"This short sequence of invaluable Pilates moves can help with back pain and as every move is easily achievable at the desk, it's perfect for releasing tension in the body," she said.

Here are some simple moves which will help make a dent in your sedentary time.

Breathe deeply

Pilates always starts with your core. To find your core, form a triangle with your hands, placing your thumbs on your belly button. The area within the triangle is your core.

"Whilst sitting, work on finding your best posture. Inhale and let your torso expand with air, like a balloon. As you exhale, press the air out of your stomach and torso, concentrating on pulling your stomach in towards your spine," shared Natalie.

Neck flexing

Sit up tall in your chair and place your head in your hands. Then curl your head backwards into your arms, exhale and twist gently towards the right side. Pause at a depth of your twist where you can still breath deep and full and gaze over the right shoulder. After two minutes repeat on the left-hand side.

Shoulder circles

Tight neck and shoulders? It's time to do some rotation! Sit upright in your chair and circle the shoulders back and forth for five reps. The slower you go the more tension you will release.

Chin tilts

Sit with as much space between your ears and shoulders as possible. Gently nod your chin down towards your chest, as if you are trying to hold an orange between your chin and chest. Repeat several times without curling your shoulders or upper-back.

Ankle flexing

Sit in your chair with one leg crossed over the other. Begin to point the toes of the top leg as far away from you as possible, then flex the toes back. Repeat for 10 reps and change legs.

Calf stretching

Headed to the kitchen for a cup of tea? Do some calf stretches while you are waiting for your brew. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

"Your feet should be parallel, facing forwards and your core should be engaged. Then, bend your knees to your toes and straighten them again," advised Natalie. Rise up onto the balls of your feet and slowly come back down to the floor. Repeat 20 times.

Reverse arm stretching

Take your arms to the back of your chair and press your palms together, with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling. Inhale and exhale until your body feels grounded.

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