Written by FH Contributor and Physical Therapist, Rachel Louissaint
Nowadays with everything going on, we are all just trying to manage our emotions and take things day by day. A lot of us are working from home, trying to do the best we can in a space that may not have been intended on being a home office. All of sudden our dining rooms or kitchen tables have transformed into work stations. That comfortable chair you onced loved isn’t the same after sitting in it for more than 8 hours. Over time this can lead to tightness and pain.
Taking stretching breaks can be very beneficial in decreasing pain, improving flexibility and mobility and overall relaxation. Now more than ever self-care is very important. What better way to take care of yourself then to take a 15-min stretch break in between stressful conference calls and hour long zoom sessions. Here are 5 easy stretches that you can do at home to stretch the muscles that get the tightest after sitting all day.
Watch this quick tutorial on our IGTV to see how easy it is!
1. ½ KNEEL HIP FLEXOR STRETCH
When sitting in a chair for a long amount of time your hip flexors tend to get short and tight. Once that happens it can cause back pain, hip tightness and possibly limited hip range of motion.
Place the affected knee in a ½ kneel position, while placing the opposite leg in front of you. You may rest your hand on your knee for balance. Inhale, and on the exhaling breath move your body forward. You should feel a stretch on the supporting leg in the front of your thigh. Hold for 30 secs and return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times.
2. FIGURE 4 STRETCH
After sitting on those cakes for hours at a time, it is no surprise that they can get sore. The figure 4 stretch is the perfect stretch to really get in those glutes and give you the relief you need.
While lying on your back cross one leg over the other, placing the ankle on the opposite knee. Place your hand behind your supporting leg and lift your leg up until you feel a stretch in the opposite glute. Hold the stretch for 30 secs, perform 3 times.
3. CROSSOVER LEG STRETCH
The crossover leg stretch is an easy and simple stretch. After sitting for a long time a deep stretch is just what you need to recover.
Start in a standing position, cross one leg in front of the other and reach down towards the floor. Breathe into the stretch and hold for 15 seconds. Complete 3 sets and switch sides.
4. UPPER TRAP STRETCH
After hours of leaning forward and bending your neck back and forth reading and writing emails it’s no wonder your neck and shoulder gets tight. Prolonged sitting causes poor posture, core weakness and neck pain. I can’t tell you how many patients that I treat for neck pain for this exact reason. This stretch is my go to recommendation, it’s easy to do and can be done while sitting.
While sitting, place the opposite hand over the ear of the side of your neck you would like to stretch. SLOWLY move your head with your hand over until you feel a stretch in your neck. If your shoulders or body start to move as well, you have gone too far or are stretching too aggressively. It’s your neck, be gentle!
5. ROTATION STRETCH
Prolonged sitting can result in increased trunk stiffness and low back pain, all from being in a flexed position for hours. This stretch adds some movement and rotation back into those segments that don’t get as much attention.
While sitting with legs outstretched in front of you, cross one leg over another. Place the opposite hand on the outside of the bent knee and rotate to look over your shoulder. Exhale into the stretch as you rotate more.
After completing these stretches I’m sure you will feel some relief! Stretching and mobility are so important to maintain in order to decrease stress, pain, stiffness and decrease the risk of injury. Do yourself a favor, take 15 minutes and invest back into your body!