If You've Been Sitting too Long, Try These 7 Stretches
Many may not be aware of the damage they're doing to their bodies or even what the top dangers are by sitting too long at the office as well as being a couch potato at home. They just know their legs are stiff, their hips don't move like they used to, and their backs and necks could use a serious rub. There's a solution for that. If it's too embarrassing to stretch in the office or the store in which you work, then hit the stalls in the bathroom or make sure there's no one in the break room before you do these seven easy stretches.
When the body sits too long, the shoulders hunch over. This closes off the chest, making breathing deeply difficult. The back and shoulders bend over the desk, stiffening everything from the neck to the hips. The hips and legs become shorter, believe it or not. The muscles aren't in use, so they tighten up instead of lengthening out for support in activity. Upon rising, this tightness makes movement and breathing difficult. These stretches will open up everything from the chest to the ankles. You'll be able to move without pain!
One. Leg Swings
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart and holding onto something for balance (like a doorknob or a chair), swing the left leg to the front of the body and let it swing to the back of the body. Repeat with right leg. Now swing the left leg to the side of the body and let it swing across the front of the body. Repeat with the right leg. Do two sets of ten repetitions. This stretches the hip flexors, the glutes, and the quads (thigh muscles).
Two. Grok Squats
Standing with feet just slightly wider than shoulder-width, squat down until the butt is touching the ankles. Hold for a few seconds, then rise and repeat. This stretches everything from the ankles to the core muscles. Do two sets of ten repetitions.
Three. Rotation Lunge
But what about the chest, neck and shoulders? Don't they get tight, too? Of course, they do. This stretch will open up the chest, get the spine moving, and stretch everything from the nose to the toes. Stand at anatomical rest, then bending the left knee, do a lunge, keeping the knee just above the toes. Now lift the arms to the sides as if you're flying. Twist the torso to the left side, lifting the left arm above the head as if pointing at the ceiling. Hold for a couple seconds. Rise to anatomical rest, then do the same with the right leg. Do two repetitions of ten.
Four. Chest Opener
Hunched shoulders mean you can't breathe deeply or even properly. To alleviate this problem, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Using a towel, belt or interlacing the fingers, lift the arms behind you as high as you can and still be comfortable. Hold pose for a few seconds. Return to anatomical rest and repeat. Do two repetitions of ten.
Five. Reach for the Sky
Doesn't it feel wondrous to stretch the whole body from fingertips to toes upon waking? Now you can do the same thing to loosen up the whole body at work. Stand with legs as far apart as they'll go. Raise the arms as high as they can go. Spread the fingers and toes apart. Now lift up on tippy-toes and reach for the sky. This stretches everything. Do two reps of ten.
Six. Crossing the Knees
Loosen up those hips and glutes by sitting in your chair. Now lift the left leg, placing the ankle on the right knee. Just slightly lean onto the left leg, placing the right hand on the ankle. Gently press both. Now repeat with the right leg. Do two reps of ten.
Seven. Backward Wall Walk
Support your spine by opening it up. Hunching over a keyboard or slumped on a couch watching TV means the spine needs to be stretched in the opposite direction in order to lose its stiffness. Stand beside a wall at a comfortable distance, ankles together. Place hands on wall behind your head. Now slowly walk the hands down the wall until you can feel the stretch. Any further could cause damage. Hold stretch for a couple seconds, and then walk back up the wall. Do two reps of ten.