Office Om: Stretches I Do At My Desk

By Katie, 5:48 am

I want to be this guy.


I’ve mentioned before that back in June I started my full-time, 9-to-5 desk job. There are so many things I love about my job – the people, the benefits, the money (hey, let’s be real!).

But one thing I most certainly do not love is sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day. :-?

A few weeks ago the extended spans of sedentary time really started getting to me; by 3:00 in the afternoon my legs were literally jittering from being relatively motionless for so many hours. Something needed to be done before I up and ran out of the office!

So I set my Outlook calendar to go off every hour with this simple reminder: MOVE! When I see the message pop up on my computer screen, I immediately get up and take a walk around the office. Or switch to a task that requires standing up. Or even just take some deep breaths and do some simple stretches to wake up my body.

Here are some of my favorites:

(I wanted to photograph myself doing these, but we’re having some Internet issues at my house, so this little lady will have to do!)

The Shoulder Shrug

The Swimmer

The Twist

The “Reach for the Sky” Stretch (so called because I pretend I can actually see the sky above me, rather than a popcorn office ceiling!)

The Cross-Legged

I don’t plan on being a 9-to-5 desk worker forever; it just isn’t my style. But for now, I cope by moving and stretching as much as I can!

Do you work in an office? Do you spend long spans of time sitting at a desk?

What are your favorite stretches or in-office movements? (I need more suggestions!)


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24 Responses to “Office Om: Stretches I Do At My Desk”

  1. I work in an office and sit at a desk all day long. I do get up a lot, but I don’t stretch, neccessarily!

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m the same as Liz. I don’t really stretch but I get up every hour and walk every hour.

  3. I work for myself from home but still end up at my desk for hours upon hours. I set the oven timer (the one on my computer isn’t persistent enough to get me up if I am in the middle of something good:D) to go off usually every hour or so. I get up and do a little housework, jump on my mini trampoline or even sometimes just get up and turn off the timer (which is downstairs). I find that I am much, much more productive and able to think more clearly when I give myself these built in breaks.

    (p.s. thanks for the shout out for my class!)

    • Katie says:

      Yes! I’ve said it before, but I love that oven timer idea! (I also now want a mini trampoline in my office!)

  4. I do work at a desk all day. I drink tons and tons of water; so I’m always doing a loop from my office to the bathroom to the water fountain to fill my water bottle. I make a point of going to the bathroom two flights up the stairs twice per day… and just stretching a little on the other trips.

  5. ooooh, i like these stretches! i sit at a desk but am up and moving around a lot too, but stretching is definitely something i need to engage in more!

  6. These are GREAT ideas! I only work part time right now, but when I was full time I tried to make it a habit to stand for at least 3 minutes every hour. These stretches look great!

  7. Great tips! At work, I try to get up and walk around as often as possible. If I have to ask a co-worker a question, I visit them in person rather than sending an email.

  8. Karen says:

    I work an office desk job as well. I try to drink lots and lots of water during the day. This results in frequent trips to the restroom (and the water cooler). To get extra exercise I make sure I take the long way to the restroom.

  9. Leslie says:

    Good idea, Katie, to set your outlook calendar! Moving/stretching is one of those things that I always intend to do at work and then forget :) .

  10. Ooooo…when I saw the pictures my body just responded and I stretched!! This is one of those things I keep telling myself I should do and then I don’t do it enough. Thank you for the reminder!! My computer announces the time every hour on the hour so I have a built in reminder…now to pay attention to it!

  11. Bubu says:

    I don’t drink in order to get up, but it ends up happening anyway! So I walk down the stairs to the bathroom and back a lot. I also switched over to an exercise ball instead of a desk chair last summer when i was dealing with some back pain. It’s amazing because it really makes you sit up straight and engage your abs, I have much less back pain now. And you can bounce up and down a little or roll a bit if you’re getting restless!

  12. Jill says:

    I am desk jockey too and all the sitting is not so great for my back, neck and shoulders. How do you set your Outlook calender for the reminders? I use Outlook too, but I’m not sure how to set it up to remind me every hour. :(

    • Katie says:

      I actually just created a recurring appointment (but marked myself as free) and set up an alarm to go off for it. It makes my Outlook calendar look like a mess, but I’m ok with that.

  13. Nicole, RD says:

    I am at a desk a lot of the day, but luckily I break up my sitting by going out to the clinic at least several times throughout the day, and I can really stay out there as long as I want. I do a lot of running back and forth from my desk to the clinic floor, so that’s helpful. Another trick of mine is to drink PLENTY of water so that I have to take 4-5 trips to the water jog to fill up my tumbler and at least 4-5 trips to the bathroom ;)

  14. Meg says:

    I am so glad that I don’t work in an office anymore, for this reason. When I did, I would try to stretch every now and then and get up and walk around. I found it’s a great way to get the blood moving and avoid the 2 pm “crash”. I knew one person who brought an exercise ball to work and would sit on it instead of a chair for a while. It definitely helps to improve posture!

  15. I spend a good amount of time sitting at my desk in my dorm room doing homework, so I try to talk walks once in a while:)

  16. I mentioned this before, but has an office yoga class. If you do the reach for the sky, you wouldn’t be embarrassed doing the rest of what they say.

    • Katie says:

      Yes, now I remember you mentioning that. I probably wouldn’t be embarrassed…I have no shame! Haha! :)

  17. Hehe, the guy looks great! ;)

  18. Simply Life says:

    Great ideas! I’m at a desk most of the day and am always looking for ways to get a little movement in!

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