Anyone with a desk job knows that sitting all day is not healthy for the body. In addition to bad posture and a slowed metabolism, being parked in a chair can make you feel stiff and fatigued. Whether it’s at your desk, in a car or on the couch, too much sitting is unhealthy.
What’s the antidote? Standing and moving, of course. But if you don’t want to invest in a standing desk, try moving around more throughout the day to break up periods of sitting. If you’re working from home, get up to grab a drink of water, take a trip up and down the stairs, walk around when on the phone or sneak in some quick bursts of exercise.
Stretching relieves tension and loosens tight muscles. Try these good stretches if you sit all day – in the morning, in the middle of the day or at night. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds, and repeat if you have time. Make them a habit to help your body.
Good Stretches if You Sit All Day
- Neck stretch – For the neck. Standing tall, with shoulders down and relaxed, drop your chin to your chest as you elongate the back of the neck. Then lift the chin to the ceiling without throwing your head back. Drop the right ear to the right shoulder, then left ear to left shoulder.
- Star reach – For shoulders, chest, mid-back and ankles. Standing with feet wide, raise your arms overhead and form a letter ‘X’ shape with your body. Reach up high, spreading fingers apart, lifting shoulders and rib cage, extending torso and raising heels.
- Supported backbend – To open chest and shoulders. Standing about one foot away from a wall, with your back to it, lift arms overheard and bend at elbows to place your palms on the wall. Lift your chest and chin as you arch your back slightly and walk your hands lower on the wall.
- Shoulder opener – Opens the chest and shoulders. Standing with your feet apart, grab your fingers or clasp your hands behind your back and raise the arms up. If this is too difficult, hold a towel or belt in both hands behind the back.
- Lunge and twist – Stretches hip flexors and back. Step your right leg forward and left leg back; bend right knee and slide left leg back to a runner’s lunge with the front knee over the ankle and hands flanking your right foot. Twist your torso to the right and raise up the right arm, stacking shoulders. Repeat on the other side.
- Standing quad stretch – Stretches quadriceps. Standing, bend right knee and reach back with right hand to pull heel toward glute, tucking hips under and pointing the knee toward the ground. Hold onto a wall or chair if necessary for balance. Repeat on other leg.
- Child’s pose – Lengthens the torso and low back. On all fours, shift your hips back to your heels and extend arms forward. For variety, you can shift weight to the right hip and heel; then the left.
- Hamstring and calf stretch – Elongates the hamstrings and calves. Lying on your back, raise the right leg straight up (use a rolled towel if you can’t reach) and pull toward your chest. Flex foot by pushing the heel to the ceiling. Repeat on other leg.
- Figure 4 – Stretches hips and glutes. Lying on your back, hug knees to chest. Cross right ankle over left knee, and loop hands around the left hamstring to pull the legs toward the chest. Repeat on the other side.