5 Simple Mid-day Stretch Break You Need At Work

If you’re working a nine-hour desk job, remember that your neck, hamstrings, spine and hips suffer the most. Unwind with this quick afternoon stretching routine.

27 Feb 2023

We've all experienced the afternoon slump—that time of day when our energy plunges, leaving us sluggish. We usually become desperate for a quick fix, which can usually be caffeine or something with a high sugar content. Working a desk job means sitting in the same spot almost all day long—give or take a few trips to the bathroom and cafeteria. This takes a toll on your body, causing rounding of the spine, and discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and lower back. When we’re sitting for hours at a time, the hip flexors (the muscles on the front of your hips) shrink and feel tight.


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What's the solution? Plan a mid-day stretching break. Doing some simple stretches regularly helps the body and the brain optimally. Next time when you’re tired, just do a quick stretch or two mid-day to reset—focus especially on the neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Enjoy the benefits of a daily stretching routine by mindfully moving your body: focus on your breath and gently move your muscles to beat fatigue.

By incorporating an afternoon stretch routine, you will gain benefits such as:

  • Reduced stiffness in muscles
  • Decreased muscle tension and body aches
  • Improved flexibility and motion in joints
  • Better mood at work
  • Higher energy and alertness


Read here: 7 Moves To Relieve Stiffness From Sitting All Day—Full Body Mobility Routine.


Here’re a few short stretches you can perform at your workplace. These are perfect for full-body mobility. To reduce body pains and boost mobility, try some simple moves by Mumbai-based mobility and movement coach Shereena Master.

1. Overhead Stretch

  • Sit on your chair with your back straight.
  • Raise your arms above your head, interlock your fingers, and push towards the ceiling.
  • Hold for 10 seconds. Put your hands down to relax.
  • Repeat 4-5 times.


Related story: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Get Over the Afternoon Slump


2. Neck Rolls

  • This exercise can be done either way, standing or sitting. Start with your head straight and look forward.
  • Tilt your head to the left side and slowly roll it back towards the right side in a circle.
  • Bring your head up to the starting position. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
  • Switch to the opposite side for 3 to 5 repetitions.

Vinod Channa, a Mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer, shows gentle exercises to improve mobility of the neck, arm and help lessen shoulder pain. Read more: 6 Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk To Ease Shoulder Pain


Related story: The Many Benefits Of Physiotherapy: Pain Management Guide For Desk Jobs


3. Wrist Stretch

  • Stand near a desk or a flat platform at a low level where you can easily place your palms.
  • Place your wrists on the desk/platform, so they face away from you- forward or sideways. Apply pressure until you feel the stretch.
  • Hold for a few seconds, and then follow with some wrist circles.


Related story: 15-Minute Mobility Routine To Relax Stiff Muscles


4. Shoulder Pass Through

  • Stand straight, holding a book/bottle or anything you can grab from your desk. Keep your abs engaged, butt tight and do not flare out your ribcage.
  • Raise the pipe overhead and bring it down behind you, as far as possible.
  • Bring the pipe back in front as you push your shoulders down in their sockets without bending your elbows or pelvis.

New York City-based yoga teacher and lecturer Eddie Stern shows a few yoga asanas to reduce back pain triggered by a sedentary lifestyle. Read here: 10 Minutes Yoga Asanas For Back pain


Related story: 5 Desk Exercise Equipment for Working Professionals.


5. Hamstring scoop

  • Stand straight and put one foot forward, with your toes lifted and your heel firmly planted on the floor.
  • Bend down into a deadlift pose, push your hips back, and go all the way down as your arms reach for the toes of the extended foot.
  • Raise yourself back up, switch to the other leg, and repeat.

Try more yoga poses for backache by New Delhi-based yoga instructor Zubin Atre here 6 Moves To Ease back Pain


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