Anyone who works an office job, or is otherwise required to sit all day, is familiar with the damage caused by prolonged periods spent in a chair. To ease the stress on your neck, back, shoulders and hips, Elements of Rockville Centre has compiled this list of the best stretches that anyone with a sedentary lifestyle should try.
8 of the Best Stretches for the Deskbound
1. Supported Backbends
For improved posture and strengthened spine-stabilizing muscles, supported backbends are your best friend.
The video below provides detailed instructions on how to do it:
Of course, you should start slowly to avoid injury. As your back becomes more flexible, you’ll be able to go down lower.
2. Kneeling Hip Flexor
Tight hip flexors can lead to pain and discomfort and, eventually, impaired movement. One way to keep the fronts of your hip flexors loose is with the kneeling stretch shown in the video below:
3. Figure Four
The figure four is great for opening your hip muscles, but it also targets your IT band (which is in your knee), your glutes and your hamstrings. The video below is a solid demonstration:
4. Restful/Child’s Pose
If you’ve ever done yoga, you’re probably familiar with the Restful Pose, also known as the Child’s Pose. It’s one of the best stretches for working your lower back. See the video below for a guide:
5. Thoracic Bridge
The Thoracic Bridge nearly sounds too good to be true. It helps stretch your back, shoulders, hips and chest, and the results can be felt almost instantaneously.
When you first start doing the stretch, it’s going to feel a bit awkward. But once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be thankful. The video below provides a detailed explanation:
6. Standing Hamstring Stretch
In addition to loosening your hamstrings and improving flexibility and mobility, this stretch relieves lower back pain. Check out the video below for a tutorial:
7. Kneeling Lat Stretch
Your lats, also known as your latissimus dorsi, are some of the biggest muscles in your upper body. When they’re too tight, they make your posture significantly worse by pulling your shoulders downwards and curving your back.
One of the best stretches for your lats only involves a bench (which you can substitute with a couch). See the video below for a how-to:
8. Calf and Ankle Mobility Stretch
While this stretch is designed for runners, it is also helpful for those who aren’t very active. When you sit all day, your calves and ankles stiffen up because they aren’t used often. This stretch counteracts that, as demonstrated below:
Some Additional Advice
Stretching can be a key component in combating the dangers of sitting, but you can’t rely on it alone. Some other actions you can take include:
- Regular exercise. Following up your stretching routine with some cardio keeps your muscles moving and mitigates the effects of sitting all day.
- Massage therapy. Massage is scientifically proven to counteract the neck and back problems caused by a sedentary lifestyle. Elements of Rockville Centre has helped numerous clients with their aches and pains.
- Sit less. Instead of using your lunch break to catch up on social media, take a brisk walk. The less time you spend sitting, the better. Plus, taking a digital detox has additional benefits.
By dedicating some time each day to doing these stretches, you’ll notice an improvement in your physical well-being. But remember, you must be consistent—doing them once or twice won’t yield the results you want!
Disclaimer: Elements of Rockville Centre is not an organization of healthcare professionals. All authoritative claims in this blog have been linked to their sources.