Working a desk job can hurt more than just your social life. Sitting at a desk for long hours, while attending to phone calls and working on your computer, can have serious repercussions on your muscles and bones.The older you get, the more you’ll feel your body protest through stiffness, soreness, aches, and pains that just didn’t exist five years ago. While nothing can replace a daily workout regime, it is a good idea for anyone with a sedentary desk job to take frequent breaks and stretch - even while seated in your workspace.

Ideally speaking, a quick twenty-second break when you stand up and sit down again, at twenty-minute intervals, gets your blood flowing and improves posture and concentration. Other than this basic step, going through a few simple stretching exercises every two or three hours, will go a long way in improving blood circulation, loosening stiff muscles, and building flexibility. Each movement should be repeated five to eight times and postures held for about ten seconds.

Move the Neck: The neck is particularly prone to stiffness and rotating the head gently, tilting it as far as possible on each side without straining it, is a good start.

Shrug Away: Shrug your shoulders up and down to help loosen them up.

Stretch Your Arms: Your arms should be stretched in multiple positions. Interlocking your fingers behind your back with your palms facing inward, raise your arms upward until you feel a stretch. Similarly, lock your fingers and raise your arms straight above your head with palms facing upward and stretch gently leaning on either side to amplify the stretch.

Raise Your Hand: Raise one arm above your head, and bend your arm from the elbow, so that your palm touches your back. With the other hand, pull your elbow closer towards your back to feel your triceps stretch.

Move Your Back: The lumbar region is crucial for posture and movement, and also prone to aches. One simple way to stretch the muscles here is to cross your legs and twist your torso in the direction opposite to the one you have crossed your legs in. Try to use the back of your chair as a support and see how far you can stretch comfortably. Repeat this motion on the other side.

Lower Body Movement: For the lower body as well as your lower back and shoulders draw one knee up to your chest and hug it, while extending the other leg, and then switch over.

Abs Workout: Extending both legs so that they are parallel to the floor and pointing and flexing the toes, is also great for the lower body and your abs.

Walk Around: Simply getting up and walking around for a few seconds, consciously shaking out your body can do wonders for both your body and mind.

These stretches can be done fairly inconspicuously at the workplace. No one is going to look at you oddly if you happen to stretch your arms or legs periodically while working. And if someone does, feel free to explain the importance of stretching regularly to them and perhaps get them to join you?

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