Physiotherapy Wellbeing & Fitness

6 Simple Desk Exercises to do at Work

Written by Mr Ross Tomkins for Doctify

Are you sitting comfortably? If the statistics are anything to go by, the answer is probably yes. It’s estimated that four out of five UK citizens have office jobs and that the average UK citizen sits for nine hours a day. That’s a lot of inactivity.

Doctify Physiotherapist Ross Tomkins has some expert advice on how to stop ourselves from seizing up due to our sedentary lifestyles.

Supplement your usual workout with desk exercises

Of course we shouldn’t stop our gym or home exercises but simple aerobic tricks to get the heart pumping might include jogging on the spot, hopping, pumping your arms up and down or even just tapping your feet on the floor whilst you are waiting for your computer to turn on. Using the stairs rather than the lift and walking to speak to a colleague rather than emailing them can make a real difference when carried out frequently.

Why is sitting so bad for us?

Well, stationary sitting postures shorten the hamstrings and hip flexors and a poor slouched posture can cause stiffening of the lumbar and thoracic spine not to mention tightening of the chest and shoulder musculature.


desk exercises 2

Simple stretches to help combat stiffness and weakness


  • For the neck and shoulders, let your head fall to the side so that your left ear nearly touches your left shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax, and then repeat on the other side.


  • For the shoulders and middle back whilst sitting up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.


  • Sitting upright in your chair, stretch both arms up above your head and reach up as high as you can. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then repeat with the left.


  • For the neck and middle back, sit facing forward, then turn your head to the right and your body in the opposite direction, hold for a few seconds. Repeat 10 times, alternating sides.


  • For the lower back and hips, in sitting or standing place your hands into the small of your back and arch backwards until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold, relax and repeat. This is often a position we’ll adopt automatically and practiced more often it doesn’t just help to ease discomfort but helps to lessen the chance of recurrence.


  • To ease tight hamstrings, push your chair away from your desk and put your heel up on the desk. Sit up straight, and bend forward just until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg, hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side. 



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