Tackling Bad Habits and Healthy Desk Stretches

Working at a desk all day could be stressful, especially when you take no precautions regarding your physical and mental health. Learning and doing a few office stretches along with forming good habits might seem minor and not essential. However, incorporating some of these routines into your workday could have some long-term positive effects, directly impacting your productivity and mood in the workplace.

In this blog we explore some bad habits that people do, and simple stretches that can help relieve body pain frequently associated with a sedentary lifestyle. The compounding effects of these habits and activities as a daily routine will have a noticeable impact on your day.


Habits are recurrent, often unconscious patterns of behaviour acquired through frequent repetition. We go through the day performing many different habits; for instance, you wake up and brush your teeth, or you get in the car and automatically put on your seat-belt. But even at your desk, we all have habits.

The Mayo Clinic found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had an increased risk exposure to the dangers of issues such as obesity and smoking. So it is essential to be aware of the problem and take action for your health. Do you consider yourself someone that could lead a more active life? 

Identify Your Habit

The first way to change a habit is by identifying the problem, in our scenario, not leading an overly active lifestyle. While it’s difficult to completely overhaul your mentality as habits are often deeply ingrained in our subconscious, there are quick improvement you can do that may have an immediate impact.

It's no surprise that sit-stand desks are becoming extremely popular in the office scene, as they are an instant impact on the modern habit of spending too much time sitting down. You might find that spending more time standing up while you are in your work environment will impact your habits outside of it, initiating a move towards more active lifestyle.

For more information, check out our blog on Three Ways Standing Desks Improve Your Commercial Office.

Out with the Bad in with the Good

Eating at your desk, bad posture, sitting and staring at a screen too long. These are all bad habits that people do daily, small actions that all add up on your health over time. Mix it up and eat away from your workspace, try and take advantage of the weather if you can and eat outside, we highly recommend it!

If you are experiencing work-related problems, you should take a stand for your health and try a few easily implemented habits. Merely doing some easy stretches whether you are sitting or standing could pay huge dividends and solve many of your health problems.



Working all day at a desk can get tiresome. Coming home after a long day at the office is exhausting. Studies have shown that repeating the same motions, bad posture, and sedentary sitting for hours on end can worsen musculoskeletal disorders. Some people will fail to make the connection between body pain and their desk habits. Good news, stretching is a buildable habit that isn't hard. Let's learn some basic stretches anyone can do starting with the top of our body and working down.

Head and Shoulder Stretches

Starting at the top, let's begin with some neck stretches.

Relax and lean your head forward.

Slowly roll towards one side and hold for 10 seconds.

Repeat the process on the other side.

After both sides are complete, return to centre position and repeat the whole process three times on each side.

Next, let's stretch our upper traps.

Gently pull your head towards each shoulder until you feel a light stretch.

Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds, then alternate to the other side.

Lastly, we have some shoulder shrugs.

A straightforward technique that requires raising both shoulders at once towards your ears.

Drop them and repeat the process ten times each direction..


Arm Stretches

Working the arms, let's move to the triceps.

Raise your arm and bend it, so your hand reaches the opposite side.

Using your other hand, pull the elbow towards your head.

You can add a slight lean for a deeper stretch.

Hold this for 10 to 30 seconds and then repeat on the opposite side.

Now, we're going to do an overhead reach.

Extend each arm over your head and reach to the opposite side.

You should feel the stretch in your Latissimus Doris muscles.

Hold this for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

Lastly, clasp your hands together above your head with your palms facing outward. Push your arms up, stretching upwards.

Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

This stretch will work your upper body and arms.


Torso Stretches

Alright, we're now going to stretch your upper body.

Clasp your hands behind your back and push your chest outward, raising your chin. Hold this pose for 10 to 30 seconds.

From here we are going to do a torso twist.

Keep your feet firmly on the ground and face forward.

Twist your upper body in the direction your arm is resting on the back of the chair.

Hold this for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.

If you exhale as you twist into the direction of the arm, you can get an extra range of motion.


Leg Stretches

Moving to our lower body.

Let's begin with a hip and knee stretch.

Hug one knee at a time, pulling it towards your chest.

Hold this pose anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds and then alternate.

Remaining in the same position, extend one leg out and reach for your toes.

Hold again for 10 to 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

It is essential only to stretch one leg at a time.

Doing both legs could cause back issues.



Everyone’s different so tailor these stretches to whatever works for you, while we agree that it is probably a lot easier to do some of these in your home, out of sight of your colleagues! However there are a lot of simple stretches and breathing exercises out there that can help clear your mind and regain focus during a difficult day.

The next time you are feeling a little tense, take some time out of your work day and do some stretches. Consider adding a Standing Desk into your workspace to help you start forming habits that can lead to a more active lifestyle.

If you need help in choosing the perfect desk for you, check out our other blog: What is the best Height Adjustable Desk for Me?

Discover more health related articles by Constantino Tatum here. 

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