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7 Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk

7 Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk

It's easy to have a love-hate relationship with your desk. It's the place where you earn your living, of course, which gives you the means to pursue the lifestyle you enjoy.

It's also a bit of a health trap. If you've been paying attention over the last few years, you've heard the news that sitting is the new smoking: prolonged periods of time in your desk chair can damage your health in big ways.

So you've got to keep moving! Get up and walk around if you can, but doing a few stretches right there in your chair several times throughout the day is another way to keep your body active. These simple moves are less of an interruption in your workflow; you can do them as you pause to craft your next email or chat on the phone.

Side Stretch

Inhale as you lift your left arm above your head. Place your right hand on the edge of your chair by your right hip. Exhale as you lean to the right, stretching that left arm up and over. Pause and take a few deep breaths before repeating on the other side. 


Sit up straight, like Grandma used to tell you to do. As you exhale, turn to the right, bringing your right hand behind you. Your left hand can rest against your right leg. Use your inhales to remind yourself to sit tall, then twist a little deeper on the exhales. Repeat on the other side.

Hip Stretch

Bring your right ankle on top of your left leg. Looks cool and casual, right? Depending upon your flexibility, you might feel a stretch in your hip already. If not, sit tall and hinge forward from your hip, keeping your spine long; lean into it until you feel a deeper stretch. Hold for several breaths and repeat on the other side, of course.

Chest Opener

You might need to stand up or turn to the side for this. Reach your hands behind you and clasp them together, keeping the palms facing each other. If your hands won't come together, face forward in your chair and try to hold the back of the chair with each hand. Draw your chest forward as your hands reach back.

Wrist and Ankle Circles

Give your hands and feet a break! Holding your arms in front of you, simply rotate your wrists several times in both directions. Curl your fingers toward your wrist and hold for a few seconds, then press your palms flat (like you're pressing them against a wall in front of you) and hold again. Take those same circles one at a time with your feet. You can also point and flex your toes, holding each position for a few seconds.

Cat Stretch

As you exhale, round your back, letting your chin move toward your chest and drawing your belly button to your spine. As you inhale, arch the back, bringing the heart forward and the chin up. Repeat several times. 

Seated Forward Fold

Step your feet out so they're wider than your chair, knees apart. Resting your arms on the outsides of your legs, fold forward between your knees and relax your head. Hang out for a few seconds—just don't fall asleep.

As an added bonus, do a standing forward fold: stand with your feet under your hips, then hinge from the hips and fold forward as far as you comfortably can. Relax your head and shoulders, remembering to bend your knees a little if you need to.  

These simple movements can energize you, and you have some piece of mind in knowing you're doing something to combat the non-stop sitting. Set a timer on your device to remind yourself to do these several times a day. 

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