woman at desk
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Work the Room

Most of us spend hours hunched over computers, smartphones, and steering wheels. That takes a toll on your back, hips, neck, and shoulders, and it’s not always easy to find the time to take care of aches and pains. But you can stretch anywhere there’s a wall or chair.

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hip opener stretch
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Hip Opener

Your hips and low back get tight from too much sitting. This seated stretch can open both.

  • Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet hip-width apart, directly under your knees.
  • Cross one ankle over the opposite knee.
  • Gently stretch forward.
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forward fold stretch
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Forward Fold

This stretch will undo the chaos of your workday. Use it to calm your mind and open your low back after hours at the office.

  • Stand facing a chair.
  • Place your elbows in your hands.
  • Rest your arms either on the back or seat of the chair. (Bend your knees if necessary.)
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Low back release stretch
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Low Back Release

Shake (don’t stir) the tension from your low back with a twist -- all you need is a chair.

  • Turn sideways in a chair.
  • Hold the back of the chair with the arm closest to it.
  • Gently twist the front of your body toward the back of the chair.
  • Reach your other arm to the opposite knee or farther if you can manage it.
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Shoulder release
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Shoulder Release

Your shoulders get tight from hours of slouching over keyboards and steering wheels. This stretch follows the hour markers on a clock.

  • Stand with your left shoulder next to a wall.
  • Extend your left arm straight up, palm facing the wall.
  • Move your arm down behind you slowly, as if you were going through each hour on a clock, 12 to 6.
  • Turn and repeat with your right arm.
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Half Downward Dog
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Half Downward Dog

This version of the well-known yoga pose is an all-purpose, full-body stretch that’s especially good for your hamstrings.

  • Stand facing the back of your chair.
  • Place your hands on the back of the chair.
  • Step back as far as you can.
  • Try to keep your arms and legs straight as you stretch your spine.
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Open Shoulders stretch
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Open Shoulders

This one opens up your chest and shoulders to make up for all that forward slouching at your desk. And it makes space for more air to get into your lungs.

  • Sit up straight on the edge of your chair.
  • Drop one arm to the side.
  • With a straight back, raise the dropped arm over your head and lean to the opposite side.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
  • Stretch your arms behind you and hold the outside edges of the seat back.
  • Push your chest out.
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Wrist and Shoulder Release stretch
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Wrist and Shoulder Release

All that typing -- and texting and mouse clicking -- tightens your muscles. You can’t overdo this simple, gentle stretch for your wrists and forearms. 

  • For your wrists: Extend your right arm, palm up.
  • Gently pull your fingers down and back with your left hand.
  • Switch hands and repeat.
  • For your shoulders: Stretch your arms straight out and interlace your fingers.
  • Turn your hands palms out.
  • Gently raise your arms overhead and stretch.
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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 01/25/2019 Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on January 25, 2019

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1) Getty

2) Alex Hadjidakis / WebMD

3) Alex Hadjidakis / WebMD

4) Alex Hadjidakis / WebMD

5) Alex Hadjidakis / WebMD

6) Alex Hadjidakis / WebMD

7) Alex Hadjidakis / WebMD

8) Alex Hadjidakis / WebMD

 

SOURCE:

Beth Passehl, WebMD, MS; Certifications: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, 500 hours (E-RYT 500); Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP).

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on January 25, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.