Most of us spend the majority of our time sitting: whether in our car, on a bus, while we work, or watch TV and it’s no surprise that sitting all day has some unwanted impacts on your body. Long periods hunched over at your keyboard can leave your neck, shoulders, back, and hips feeling tight and tense.
Apart from doing your best to stand up and move every 30 minutes, there are ways you can further unwind the impacts, relieve tension, and decompress your body. Incorporating these six stretches after a long day at your desk while showing your muscles some much-needed love:
Neck: Just Say Yes
Between staring down at your laptop for too-many hours or crouching over your phone texting on your morning commute—your neck bears a lot of the burden. This stretch gives your neck a break from the burden of supporting your head while it remains locked in one position for too long.
Interlace your fingers behind your neck with elbows parallel with the ground, tuck your chin, relax your shoulders and gently rest your head back to look up at the ceiling, breathing deeply, then slowly nod your head bringing your chin to your chest. You can also do a full circular motion to stretch your upper back.
Shoulders & Chest: Shoulder Opener
Sitting tends to pull our shoulders inward and collapse our chest which leads to shortened muscles through the chest. The problem? This leads to referred tightness in your back and neck. This move opens the shoulders and chest while resetting your posture.
Stand tall and clasp your hands behind your back, your palms pressed together, your arms fully extended. Take a deep breath in, look up toward the ceiling, then as you exhale, press your hands down as far as you can as you draw your shoulders backward to widen the chest.
Back: Sphinx Pose
The Sphinx pose is a gentle backbend that lengthens the abdominal muscles while stretching and opening the chest, lungs, and shoulders. For such a simple stretch it’s surprisingly soothing and begins the process of literally reversing hunched postures and relaxes you head to toe.
Lie on your stomach keeping your legs out straight and side-by-side. The set your elbows under your shoulders with forearms on the floor parallel to each other. Breathe in, relaxing your shoulders away from your ears and gently lengthening your upper torso and head (without lifting your forearms off the floor).
Hips: Kneeling Hip-Flexor Release
Tight hip flexors are probably the most common challenge for people who sit all day and sitting at a 90-degree angle causes these muscles to shorten. Your hip flexors are a group of muscles near the top of your thighs that are crucial in the movement of your lower body.
Kneel on the floor and step one foot out in front of you into a lunging movement. Keep your back leg stretched out as much as possible and make sure your front ankle is directly under your knee. Gently press your hips forward to feel the stretch in the front of your back leg.