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8 simple exercises to ease the pain in the wrist, neck and back at the desk

  A man is standing at his desk in front of his laptop in a well-lit room.

Feeling better at work is as simple as stretching your arms and rolling your neck.

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It's 2pm and my eyes are flowing from Google Docs to the little clock in the corner of my computer screen. And there it goes: "Oh my goodness I haven't moved from this exact position in 5 hours and wow my throat hurts" insight.

This happens to me at least once a week. As a health and fitness writer who promotes movement, I am ashamed to admit it. But hey, it's life, and sometimes we can only learn from the consequences of our mistakes – in this case, nagging neck pain and poor posture .

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If you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods chances are you have experienced neck pain, your back, hands and wrist. Ideally, we would all get up and exercise during the recommended 30 minutes a day, but often stuffed lists only offer a little time for physical activity.

Fortunately, you can make a big difference in just a few minutes, and you don't even have to get up from your desk to do it. Try this sequence of seven exercises the next time you feel the devastation on your desktop. Also, make sure to do these full body exercises after work to release the excitement of sitting at your desk.

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While I need a standing desk for any of these stretches, that you can really increase your overall degree of movement throughout the day


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1. Wrist circles: Clasp hands with fingers intertwined. Turn your hands in circles at a moderate rate – try to keep your palms touching! Make 10 to 20 circles in one direction and then 10 to 20 in the opposite direction.

2nd Neck circles: Sit up straight and roll your shoulders back and forth. Slowly roll down your neck so that your chin is close to your neck. Hold that position for a few seconds and then continue the rotation until the head is back to its normal position. Complete 10 circles in one direction and 10 in the other.

3rd Stretch your head: Sit with good posture – use your core to hold your torso without relying on the backrest of your chair. Stretch out your arms, join hands and push up toward the sky. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, relax and repeat.

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4. Horror Stretch: Leave your arms outstretched and hands clasped above your head. Lean slowly to the side as far as you can go without losing stability. You should feel a nice stretch in the abdominal muscles, especially your shins, and the lower back.

5th Arm Circles: Sit up straight with good posture and extend your arms towards your sides. They should make a "T" shape with your torso. Move your arms in forward circles for 30 seconds, relax and then move your arms in reverse circles for 30 seconds.

6th Knee Marches: Raise one knee as high as possible while sitting. Hold it in the air for a second or two, then place your foot back on the ground and raise the other knee. Switch as many times as you like. If you have a rolling desk chair, start slowly to make sure you are stable. If you feel unstable, hold the desk with one or both hands.

7th Knee flexion and extension: To extend the knee, straighten the leg in front of you. To bend your knee, just bend your knee and bring your calf as close as you can to the hamstring. Extend and bend for 10 to 20 reps on each leg.

8th Ankle flexion and extension: To extend the ankle, point to the toes. To bend your ankle, pull your toes toward your leg. First, hold each position for five to 10 seconds. After a few repetitions, you can increase the speed you flex and extend.

To make all or all of these exercises more effective, complete them when you get up. You don't need much space, so you can just stand behind your chair.

If you are looking for a bigger challenge, try these 4 workouts that you can do in 20 minutes or less .

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider about any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objective.

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