6 Stretches You Need to Do If You’re Sitting All Day
If you work a 9-to-5 job, chances are you sit for a majority of those hours, or maybe you spend a lot of time in your car on a daily basis? And even if you have a standing desk or a nontraditional job, you’re probably sitting for more hours a day than you realize.
While sitting may be difficult, if not impossible, to avoid, there are things we can do to mitigate its harms.
So if you’re trapped in a chair, be sure to add some fidgeting and get up to wander around every 20 minutes or so. And try out the six stretches below. They’re designed to counter the muscle-weakening, joint-stiffening, and shoulder-hunching effects of spending too much time on your keister.
So, the first thing you can easily do to overturn the nasty effects of sitting is to get up and move around for a few minutes every hour, and include a lot of fidgeting in the periods you spend on the desk. As for the next step, you should definitely try out the list of simple yet powerful yoga-inspired stretches we’ve put together for you. To get the best results, do them twice a day in this exact order by holding each of the stretches for thirty seconds.
1. Supported Backbend
Ackbends will help you improve your posture by activating the muscles supporting the spine.
Stand facing away from a wall. Slowly lean back towards the wall, with your arms over your head, supporting your body weight with the palms, elbows bent backwards. Start moving your hands down the wall until you begin to feel a good stretch in the back.
Take long, deep breaths and hold the position until it becomes more comfortable.
2. Lunge with Rotation
This exercise is excellent for maintaining the flexibility of the spine while building more strength in your legs and shoulders at the same time.
From a standing position, take a big step forward with your right foot into a lunge. Your right knee should not extend past your toes. Place your hands on either side of your right foot. At the same time, lift your right arm toward the ceiling and turn your gaze upward. Switch sides and repeat.
3. Shoulder Opener
Since extended sitting hunches the back and pulls the shoulders inwards, shoulder opening exercises are very beneficial for the chest, shoulders, spine and back muscles.
Stand up straight, holding a rope or a belt in each hand behind your back. Slowly start raising your arms behind you as high as you can, pulling your shoulders back and together at the same time.
4. Low Cobra
The low cobra strengthens the back, opens the chest and stretches the hip flexors (the muscles that get very tight and stiff from being bent in a seated position).
Lie facedown with your body resting in one straight line. Press your forearms into the floor and pull your shoulders back as you raise your head up and bend your back backwards.
5. Star Reach
This is a very easy position that nicely stretches the whole body from head to toes, including the shoulders, chest, hips and knees, providing a great relief for those stiffened joints.
Stand with your legs slightly wider than hip width. Raise your arms high with palms facing forward. Spread your fingers and rise high on your toes.
6. Number 4 Sit
Among other things, the long hours of sitting can lead to atrophy of the piriformis, a tiny muscle located in the buttock region. This stretch can help you maintain its flexibility.
In a seated position, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Use your right hand to apply a bit of pressure to the inside of your right knee, and then slightly lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your right piriformis.
Hold the stretch as you inhale. When you exhale, attempt to apply a bit more pressure and lean a half an inch farther forward into the stretch. Do the same with each breath. Switch sides and repeat.