Wellbeing

5 Easy Desk Exercises to Help Prevent Back Pain

Do you spend hours at a desk for work or your studies?

Not only can this lead to issues with blood circulation but it can lead to bad posture and lower back pain. The good news is you don’t have to go to a gym every day to deal with this problem. A few basic desk exercises, which you can perform even in a small space, can help you stay fit and healthy. 

Not sure which exercises to start with? Look no further, we’ve got your back! Check out our list below to discover a few basic but effective exercises you can practice today:

1. Child’s Pose

The child’s pose is a basic yoga pose that helps stretch the spine, particularly the lower back. At the same time, it widens the hips. 

It’s very simple to perform and you can do it even if you have a small working area. This makes it the ideal desk exercise for people working in small office stalls or at home. 

Start by kneeling, resting your buttocks and hips on your lower feet and legs. Keep your knees apart but make sure you still feel comfortable. Now bend forward, as gentle as you can, until you can lay your palms flat on the floor.

Move forward slowly, going as low as you can. If possible, try to touch the floor with your forehead. Try to form a straight line going from your buttocks to your hands. 

Rest like this for 20-30 seconds before going back upright. 

2. Planks

Looking for a desk exercise to help with lower back pain but it can help improve bad posture and strengthen your core? Why not try out planks?

Planking is among the best exercises you can do after spending hours at a desk. It’s simple to perform but so effective that you’ll find military personnel and gym enthusiasts doing it all the time.

If you encounter pain while performing a basic plank, make it a point to visit a chiropractor. There might be serious issues with your lower back or chest.

The standard is the forearm plank. Lie down facing the floor, similar to how you would when doing push-ups. Rest your upper half on your forearms and then raise your toes.

Keep your stomach in, straighten your back, and breathe. Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute. Some people can do longer but you don’t have to, especially if it’s your first time. Avoid letting your lower back sink and don’t forget to breathe. 

Of course, there are a few variations to the forearm plank.

You can do a plank with your arms stretched down, which is the up position when doing push-ups. You can do side planks or a standard plank with one leg raised. Another variation is to perform a plank with both hands holding and balancing a small ball. 

3. Chair Dips

Before you perform this desk exercise, get a chair that won’t slide or roll away. 

To perform chair dips, scoot to the edge of the chair and plant your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on both sides of your hips and grip the edge of the chair. The goal now is to keep your body in a seated position, thighs parallel to the ground, while lowering your body as close to the floor as possible. 

You will need to rely heavily on your core, back, and leg muscles to maintain composure. 

4. Cobra Pose

Looking for a pose that targets your lower back the most? This is, after all, the part that suffers the most when you spend long hours in a desk job. One good exercise is to do the cobra pose. 

Start by lying down, face to the floor. Make sure to extend your legs and stretch your feet out.

Rest your hands under your shoulders, palms down and fingers facing forward. Gently bend your elbows in and then tuck your arms. This is the resting position.

Now, slowly push the upper half of your body up. Use the muscles in your legs and buttocks to push your legs and feet down. Your chest will lift, putting a lot of pressure on your lower back, and pushing down like this will help support your back. 

If you can, try to straighten your arms. The goal is to lift your chest as high up and away from the floor as much as possible. It’s okay if you can’t do this — stick to what’s comfortable and not painful.

Remain in this position for half a minute. Slowly and gently return to your starting position. Repeat this up to four times.

5. Bridges

Bridges help strengthen the muscles on your back, buttocks, abdomen, and your spine. It also helps a person improve their posture, whether sitting or standing. Bridges are also simple and easy to do, especially when working at a desk. 

Start by lying down on your back, knees bent and your feet firmly planted on the floor. Pull your feet close to your buttocks, as tucked in as possible. Keep both arms on your side, palms down.

As slow as possible, raise your hips towards the ceiling. Gently move your torso up to keep your back off the floor. At this position, your shoulders should be the anchors supporting your body.

Hold this position up for about 5 seconds. Go back down slowly until your lower back touches the floor, breathe, and then repeat. Do this up to 15 times per set.

Try Out These Desk Exercises Today

Sitting at a desk for work or school can lead to all sorts of pain and posture issues. Don’t forget to perform these basic desk exercises to maintain a strong and healthy body. From planks to bridges, these are all easy to do even when you’re working with a limited office space. 

That said, basic exercises might not be enough to reduce back pain for some people.

We invite you to continue reading more of our health and lifestyle guides to discover other ways to stay fit and healthy. We’ve got more guides to help you get the most out of a busy day at work or school.

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