Every time you sit, your body goes through changes that tend to go unnoticed until the pain comes knocking on your neck, shoulders, hips, and back. Most of the discomfort comes from bad posture after sitting for long bouts. Sitting without ample movement causes the muscles to weaken, particularly your legs and glutes, and can lead to more serious health complications down the line. Imagine the changes your body is going through for the 6-8 hours we sit at work. It’s important to find ways to break up sitting times by moving more throughout the day or move while seated with a miniTREAD®.
If you’re reading this, then you most likely want some instant relief. Try these 9 tension-relieving stretches for your neck, shoulders, hip flexors, and back. ** Always consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise regime.**
If you reach the point of pain… during any stretch, you’ve stretched too far. During stretching, you should aim to reach the point of mild discomfort—enough of a sensation to know you’re stretching and improving your flexibility, but not so much that it takes all your willpower to endure the stretch.– VeryWellFit
Stretches for the Neck
1. Seated Clapsed Neck Stretch
- Properly sit on the floor or in a chair. Make sure to sit up straight, chest high, core tightened, and shoulder blades back and down.
- Clasp your hands together and place them with your palms touching the back of your head.
- Gently press your hands down toward your thighs, tucking your chin into your chest.
- Slow deep breaths and hold for at least 30 seconds.
2. Setead Trapezius Stretch
- Sit tall in your chair and place one hand on your lower back and the other hand on the opposite side of your head.
- Look straight ahead and gently pull your head toward your shoulder until you feel a stretch in your neck.
- Slow deep breaths and hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
3. Shoulder Shrugs
- Sit tall in your chair.
- Inhale as you bring your shoulders towards your ears.
- Hold for 1-2 seconds and exhale as you roll your shoulders back to the starting position.
- Repeat 8-10 times.
Stretches for the Shoulders
Shoulder Shrugs help relieve tension in the shoulders as well as the neck. Pair the shoulder shrug with this next exercise for even more relief.
1. Shoulder Rolls
- Sit tall in a chair with good posture.
- Roll your shoulders up, back, and down for 10 repetitions.
- Switch directions and roll your shoulders up, forward, and down for 10 repetitions.
- Maintain slow deep breaths throughout the stretch.
2. Cross Arm Stretch
- At about chest height, bring your right arm across the front of your body.
- Using your opposite arm, place your hand on your elbow and gently press towards your body.
- Slow deep breaths and hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
Stretches for Hip Flexors
Hip flexor stretches are by far my favorite because after sitting all day for work, my hips suffer tremendously. This next stretch gives you immediate relief and feels AMAZING.
1. Knee Lift
- Lie on your back with legs extended flat on the floor.
- Keeping the left leg straight, pull the right knee up towards the chest.
- Placing both hands on top of the knee, gently pull your knee toward the chest.
- Slow deep breaths and hold for 10 seconds.
- Gently lower the leg back to the floor and repeat on the other side.
2. Seated Hip Flexor Stretch
- Sit up straight in a chair and cross the right ankle over the left knee.
- Gently lean forward, keeping your back straight and leading with the torso until you feel a stretch in the hips and glutes.
- Slow deep breaths and hold for 10-30 seconds.
- Repeat for 5 repetitions, then repeat on the other side.
Stretches for Back
Don’t skip this next stretch, you’ll thank me later!
1. Seated Cat-Cow
- Sit in a chair with feet firmly on the floor and knees at a 90-degree angle with your hands placed on your knees.
- Inhale, and as you exhale, press into your hands and arch your back. You should be looking towards the sky.
- As you inhale again, roll your shoulders forward and pull your belly button toward your spine, dropping your chin toward your chest.
- Repeat this slowly focusing on your breath for 3-5 repetitions.
2. Childs Pose
- Start on your hands and knees with your hands in front of your knees.
- Slowly lower your butt towards your feet until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your mid and lower back.
- Slow deep breaths and hold for 20 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times.
It’s All Connected
You may notice that after completing a stretch for your back, suddenly your neck feels much better. When one part of your body is out of whack, then your muscles have to compensate — or work harder — to pull your body back into proper alignment. This causes other muscle groups to tighten which causes discomfort. Incorporating a full body stretch routine into your week can help alleviate tension long-term. Preventative maintenance will serve you better than trying to put out an active fire. Remember; Agile, Not Fragile.
Movement Unleashes Vitality!