Best Ergonomic Exercises and Stretches to do at the Office

Have you ever felt intense back pain at work from sitting all day? Or maybe you find yourself hunching over or rounding your shoulders frequently, even after you’ve left the office?

These common maladies are called MusculoSkeletal Disorders (MSDs), and accounted for nearly 33% of all workplace injuries in 2013. However, ailments such as back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, Tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, Tennis Elbow, Trigger Finger, and other aches and pains are absolutely preventable with a proper routine that involves ergonomic exercises at work. In fact, something as simple as standing periodically or as easy as stretching your arms overhead often can have major benefits when done on a regular basis.

Let’s go over a few simple ergonomic exercises and stretches that can be done in the comfort of your office. The key is getting the benefits from these ergonomic exercises is to do them every day at work, so blood circulation is allowed to flow, and your muscles are never left in a state of atrophy for too long.

Wrist, hand, and Arm Ergonomic Exercises

Wrist Tilt Exercise

Wrist Twist Exercise

All diagrams copyright Ergonomic Trends

  1. Begin with arm fully extended and palm facing downwards
  2. Gently tilt wrist to the right
  3. Hold for three to five seconds
  4. Move wrist to the left and hold for another three to five seconds

Wrist Flexion Exercise

Wrist Flexion Exercise

  1. Hold arm outward with palm facing down
  2. Catch the fingers of the extended hand with your opposite hand
  3. Gently pull your fingers upwards until you feel a stretch on the underside of your wrist
  4. Hold for 5 seconds, then release
  5. Gently pull your fingers downwards until you feel a stretch on the front of your wrist
  6. Hold for 5 seconds, then repeat on the other hand

Extended Finger Stretch

Extended Finger Stretch

  1. Begin with both hands extended and palms facing downward
  2. Extend all fingers outward
  3. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly release
  4. Bend all fingers at the knuckles
  5. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly release

Neck, Chest, and Shoulder Ergonomic Exercises

Neck Relaxer

Neck Exercise Flexing

  1. Begin by sitting at the edge of your chair with your feet placed firmly on the ground
  2. Extend your arms out to either side of your torso
  3. Drop your head slowly to the right, trying to touch your right ear to your right shoulder
  4. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds
  5. Return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side
  6. Drop your head down so that your chin touches your chest
  7. Gently rock your head to the light and roll to the right; this should take about 5 seconds
  8. Return to the starting position

Head Turns

Head Turns Exercises

  1. Begin with your head facing forward
  2. Slowly turn your head to the right to look over the right shoulder
  3. Hold for 10 seconds
  4. Repeat on the opposite side

Overhead Shoulder Stretch

Overhead Shoulder Stretches

  1. Begin with your body facing forward
  2. Raise one arm directly overhead and bend it at the elbow
  3. Catch the elbow with your opposite hand
  4. Pull the upright arm towards the opposite side and hold for 10 seconds
  5. Repeat on the other side

Shoulder Roll

Shoulder Roll Exercise

  1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward
  2. Slowly roll your shoulders backwards in a circular motion five times
  3. Slowly roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion five times
  4. Return to the starting position and relax the shoulders back down

Chest Stretch

Chest Stretches

  1. Begin by standing upright with your hands at your sides
  2. Gently place your hands behind your head and interlock your fingers
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades together
  4. Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds, then relax and place your arms back down to your sides
  5. Back Exercises and Stretches

Low Back Stretch

Low Back Stretches

  1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward
  2. Reach towards the ceiling until you feel a light stretch along your sides
  3. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds
  4. Reach higher until you feel an intense stretch along your sides
  5. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, then relax

Back and Side Stretch

Back and Side Stretches

  1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward
  2. Reach your hands toward the ceiling and interlace your fingers
  3. Make sure to keep your elbows straight!
  4. Reach back as far as possible and then slowly bend to one side
  5. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds
  6. Repeat on the other side
  7. Relax your hands back to your sides

Seated Back Curl

Seated Back Curl Exercise

Begin seated at the front of your chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground
Slowly lift one leg up and grasp your shin with both hands
Bend forward and reach your nose to your knee
Make sure to bend through your upper back!
Relax back to the starting position
Repeat on the other side

Standing Stretch

Standing Stretch Exercise

  1. Begin by standing upright with your hands by your side
  2. Place both hands on your lower back, with your fingers pointed toward the floor
  3. Gently lean back into your hands while keeping your feet in place on the ground
  4. Hold the stretch for 5-10 seconds, then release
  5. Leg Exercises and Stretches

Calf Stretch

Calf Stretch Exercise

  1. Begin by standing tall and facing forward
  2. Place one foot a large step behind the other
  3. Slowly push into the front foot while keeping the other planted firmly on the ground
  4. Allow the front knee to bend
  5. Hold the stretch in the back leg for 10 seconds, then relax
  6. Bring both feet back to your midline, then switch feet
  7. Repeat the stretch on the other side for another 10 seconds, then relax

Leg Lift

Leg Lift Exercise

  1. Begin by sitting at the edge of your chair
  2. Keep both feet planted firmly on the floor and your knees bent at a ninety-degree angle
  3. Keep a straight leg and lift one leg off of the floor
  4. Feel a stretch along the back of your leg and hold for 10 seconds, then lower back down
  5. Repeat on the other side

Hip Stretch

Hip Stretch

  1. Begin by sitting on the edge of your chair with your feet firmly on the ground
  2. Lift one leg and cross it over the other right above the knee
  3. Grasp your bottom knee with your hand on the opposite side
  4. Gently apply pressure to the bottom leg while looking over your shoulder
  5. Feel the stretch along your lower back and hip and hold for 10 seconds
  6. Lower your legs back to the starting position
  7. Repeat on the other side

Stretch and Get Moving Every Day

All of the above ergonomic exercises are extremely easy to do. These simple movements and stretches may not seem like much, but when performed daily whenever you start to feel a knot in your neck or stiffness in your back, can be the key to the prevention of long term disability from occurring.

Copyright: All diagrams copyright Ergonomic Trends.