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The Top 7 Stretches Ideal for Office Workers (No Equipment Needed)

2020 was the year of working from home (WFH). We substituted our office desks for the kitchen bench or dining table and our corporate wear for trackies! Unfortunately, many of us also traded an ergonomic workspace, for a not-so-neck-and-back-friendly set-up. A lot of people also forgot what a lunch break was and stayed inside, sitting down all day!

If you experienced pain and discomfort last year due to all the sitting, you’re not alone. There were many more patients than usual presenting for neck and back pain and injuries due to their work environments. But a return to the office doesn’t necessarily mean your pain will disappear.

Our workspace greatly affects our physical health. In this article, we consider some simple tips for office workers, helping them to stay active and avoid injuries from extended periods of sitting. We also offer 7 simple stretches that can help your muscles stretch and get you through the workday.

What an Inactive Lifestyle Could be Doing to Your Health

1 in 3 people in Australia are insufficiently active, while 15% are completely inactive. This inactive behaviour, also known as a sedentary lifestyle, multiplies the risk of numerous health conditions like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure. It also has an impact on mental health, increasing the risk of anxiety and depression.

If you work in an office job, you can still achieve the required exercise to stay healthy. The key is to prioritise movement, and to find the time, even if your days seem full.

Tips for office workers

  1. Set a timer every hour to get up and have a break. Fill your water bottle, go and pat the dog, or do any task that requires you to get up and move.
  2. Try a standing desk. They may be unusual to start with, but with the appropriate set-up, can be better for your health.
  3. Take your lunch break, even when working from home! Sitting at your desk for 10 hours straight without a break is bad for your eyes, your health, and your well-being. A half an hour break to fuel your body with good nutrients, move around and have a mental rest can reset your day and improve your mood and work productivity.

7 Simple Stretches for People Who Sit All Day

  1. Thoracic Rotations

Start by sitting in a chair. Plant your feet together, legs uncrossed. Now cross your hands across your chest and rotate your body to one side without moving your legs. Slowly feel the stretch throughout your upper back and then return to the middle and commence the other side. To make this stretch more intense, use your hand on the chair to gently stretch your body around. Always look towards the way your back is rotating.

  1. Thoracic Extension

To complete a thoracic extension, simply sit in a chair with a backing that reaches halfway up your spine. Place your feet together and ensure your legs are uncrossed. Now, lean backwards, with your arms above your head to feel a gentle stretch.

  1. Hip flexor

Your hip flexors can become tight if you sit for too long. To complete a hip flexor stretch, lunge on the ground on one knee. Your front leg, the one with your foot on the floor should form a 90-degree angle with the floor. Your ground leg, the one with your knee and shin along the floor, should support your balance. Now, lean towards the front leg side gently. Repeat on the other side.

  1. Neck to the side

For this exercise, you can sit or stand. With a neutral spine, tilt your head to one side while using your hand to gently stretch your neck. Use the same arm as the direction of your head. Don’t forget to stretch both sides!

  1. Neck to the corner

This exercise is very similar to number four. Starting in the same position, tilt your head straight towards the floor, then move your head and gaze to one side. Use the same hand as the direction you’re looking to gently stretch your neck by putting your hand on top of your head.

  1. Touch your toes

A great stretch for your entire body! Sit on your chair and move your body towards the floor while your legs are separated. 

  1. Glutes stretch

The final stretch focuses on the gluteal muscles. Lie on your back and bring one knee up to your chest, holding it with your hands. Next, move your leg across your body to feel a stretch. Repeat on the other side.

Is it Time to Book a Physio Appointment?

It is normal to experience some tightness soreness if you’ve been sitting down for 40 hours a week, but if your pain is disrupting your daily life, it could be time to book a physiotherapy appointment. You don’t have to put up with pain and discomfort; neck pain, back pain, headaches, nerve pain, shoulder pain and more can all be caused by sitting for long periods.

Book your appointment at Northern Districts Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic with one of our friendly and experienced practitioners today. We’ll help you reduce pain and enhance mobility, and find efficient, accessible ways to enhance your work set-up.

CALL (02) 9874 8410 OR BOOK ONLINE


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Northern Districts Physiotherapy

Northern Districts Physiotherapy & Sports Clinic was established in 1995 and consists of an energetic team of highly qualified and experienced professionals who take the time to understand ...


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