5 Minute Work Break Stretch

Tired of sitting at your desk all day? Breakaway from the home office with this quick 5-minute stretch routine 

Many of us are spend long hours in front of the computer these days, and that can have a major negative impact on our short- and long-term health. Short-term sedentarism causes blood pooling, losses in mental acuity, and muscle and joint soreness.
Research has indicated that extended sedentary behaviour significantly increases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and mental health problems. These health risks persist for those sitting for long hours even if you are getting in your 30 minutes of daily activity, so it’s important to break up the day by moving your body!


Here are some tips to keep in mind while following along with this 5-minute stretching video led by kinesiologist Zoe Fettig-Winn. The primary focus of these stretches is to release tension from the hips and back, encourage blood circulation to muscles and the brain, and help improve your posture. Maintain deep, slow breathing, thinking of filling up space all around the spine with each inhale to help reduce stress. The breathing technique is vital to our ability to release stress and muscle tension, making us feel more relaxed and energized.

Find out more about what a kinesiologist can do for you

If you’re looking for more exercise guidance, or are looking for an accessible, personalized introduction to physical activity, get in touch with us and book a one-on-one kinesiology consultation with Zoe. A customized program will be designed for you to target your personal goals, adapt to your lifestyle and hobbies and get you back in action!  Kinesiology is covered by some extended benefits packages.

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Now let’s get moving!

Follow along with these easy stretches to open your hips and lengthen your spine!

1. Deep Lunge

Allow your back knee to rest on the ground as you press your hips forwards. Reach your hands overhead and deepen the stretch by lifting your chest to the sky and adding in a back bend. Exhale into a side bend towards the front foot.



2. Hamstring stretch
Hinge the hips backwards towards the back leg. Extend your front leg, and steady yourself by placing hands on the ground. Keep pushing your hips backwards as you fold forwards.

3. Adductor stretch
Reposition your front foot sideways. Hands rest on the floor in front of you. Stay here for a few breaths, gently rocking forwards and backwards to find tight spots.

4. Child’s pose
With feet together and knees apart, press the heels of your hands into the floor and send hips backwards. Rest your forehead on the mat, and send energy through your hands to lengthen your spine. Breathe deeply.

5. Downward dog 
Press hips upwards to the ceiling as your heels reach for the floor. By pressing your chest through your armpits, you continue to lengthen your spine and relieve tight back muscles.



6. Upward dog
Transfer your weight forwards to your hands into high plank position. Drop your hips and release your toes so that the tops of the feet lie flat on the floor. Reach your chest towards the sky to extend the spine.

Hold stretches 10 sec – 1 min each. Repeat series 2-3 times on each side for a relaxing, rejuvenating work break!

7. Lateral flexion neck stretch
Start sitting cross-legged or on a chair. Place one hand under your seat and use the other to draw your ear towards your shoulder. Keep shoulders relax as you apply gentle downwards pressure to lengthen out the opposite side of the neck.



8. 45-Degree angled flexion
Look down to the corner and apply gentle downwards pressure with your hand resting on the back of your head. Feel the lengthening down the opposite side of your neck!

9. Neck flexion
Tuck chin to chest and interlock fingers to rest hands on the back of your head. Optional: Gently shake head side to side like “no” to release tight neck muscles further.



10. Half rotations
Let the head be heavy as you roll it side to side from shoulder to shoulder.


11. Spinal flexion and extension
End with a deep spine stretch. Sitting cross-legged, rest hands on knees and hang with straight arms as you curl your spine backwards. Envision being punched in the stomach! Oppose this stretch by lifting the chest to the ceiling, as if being pulled forwards and upwards by a giant hook. Pull on your knees to deepen the stretch.

Additional Resources

3 Tips to Improve Your Sitting Posture, Feel Less Pain and Improve Your Work Environment Right Now
Changing the way you sit at your desk and take breaks can greatly reduce your pain and increase your posture

What poor sitting posture can do and how to fix it

Text-Neck – Are You Putting Yourself at Risk of Injury?
How Screen Time Can Negatively Impact Our Bodies

Kinesiology, Active Rehab and Exercise Prescription
How a kinesiologist can help you meet your health goals