The Antidote To A Sedentary Desk Job

Lessen your likelihood of injury with these simple stretches

Sitting for long periods of time has significant consequences, particularly for your lower back, knees and sometimes wrists if you spend extended amounts of time at a computer. Below are the five most important stretches for someone stuck at a desk for most of the day. These moves can help alleviate and eliminate pain. Complete the five stretches a minimum of once a day.

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1. Pigeon Pose
Position your body with your right leg bent at a 45-degree angle. Straighten your back leg with the toe facing the floor. Position your upper body so that your knee is in line with your sternum (chest bone). Hips should be parallel to the floor. To protect your knee bend the toes of your bent leg in toward your shin. If you feel any pain in the knee, stop immediately. This pose is also known as Pigeon.

Hold for seven long, steady breaths.

2. Wide to the Side
Begin on your knees, with your knees out wide, resting on forearms. Then straighten one leg out to the side. Be sure that the toe of the straight leg is in line with the knee of the kneeling leg. If possible, reach out to touch the toe of the straight leg with same side hand.

Repeat movement three times on both sides.

3. Reach to the Sky
Place one foot, shoe strings down, on a stable support surface behind you and kneel down, bringing the back knee to the floor. Place a pillow under your knee for cushion and to decrease the intensity of the stretch if you are a beginner. Be sure that the front leg knee is bent at a 90-degree angle and the shin is perpendicular to the floor. To increase the stretch, bring the arm of the leg behind you straight up.

Hold for five to seven breaths. Repeat on other side.

4. The Wall Y Pose
Begin with your head, forearms, shoulder blades and butt against the wall. Feet should be six to eight inches away from wall. Focus on pressing your lower back as close to the wall as you can.

Extend your arms up and out into a Y position. Be sure to keep forearms and hands in contact with the wall at all times.

Repeat movement 7 to 10 times.

5. Child’s Pose
This stretch is often called child’s pose. From a kneeling position, toes pointed back and together, sit backwards so that you are sitting on the heels of your shoes. Reach forward with both arms, far enough to feel a stretch in the lower back and shoulders.

Hold for 7 to 10 seconds.

Keeping your legs where they are, engage your abs and move both arms to the right until a stretch is felt on the left side of the body. Think of making your body into a half circle while remaining seated on your heels. Hold for 7 to 10 seconds.

Move to the left, repeating the same process. Hold for 7 to 10 seconds.

By Kurt Elder

Kurt Elder, MSW, CPT, is a fitness consultant who has been in the health, fitness and wellness industry for more than 20 years, and is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He has been a practicing psychotherapist, competitive athlete and world record-holder in the deadlift. Elder owns Energy F/X Fitness Consultants in Southern California. Contact him at