If you’re like most of us, you end the work week just a little stiffer than when you went in. All those hours sitting in front of a screen, wearing unsupportive shoes, not to mention, the tension of a long commute. It’s no wonder so many Americans report having stiff muscles and back pain every week.
Doctors recommend stretching as part of a daily routine, but we know that squeezing in a formal yoga class every day is next to impossible. If you have your own office, you might be able to shut the door and get a few floor stretches in, but what about the rest of us? It turns out that you can sneak in a quick stretch session without even leaving your desk. Check out these super easy beginner stretches to limber up and relax a little in the middle of your work day.
For Lower Back Pain
1. Sit forward in your chair with your back straight.
2. Slowly bring one knee toward your chest by pulling on the back of your thigh.
3. Gently hold for 30 seconds and release, moving on to the alternate leg.
For Shoulder Pain
1. Take a deep, slow breath in while you shrug your shoulders up to your ears.
2. Gently hold the position for three seconds.
3. Exhale slowly as you release your shoulders down.
4. “Roll” your shoulders gently in forward-moving circles and then in backward-moving circles.
For Foot Pain
1. Stand with one foot in front of the other, as if you were walking forward.
2. Tuck your foot under so the tops of your toes are against the carpet.
3. Apply slow, gentle pressure until you feel it along the top of your back foot.
4. “Roll” your foot in circles before alternating feet.
For Wrist Pain
1. With your arms stretched in front of you, clench your hands into fists.
2. “Roll” your fists in circles. The motion should look sort of like you’re painting circles with both fists.
3. Roll clockwise, then counterclockwise, 10 times each way.
For Chest Muscle Pain
1. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows out.
2. Lean back and spread your elbows out. This should look like a “kick-back-and-relax” position.
3. Hold this stretch for half a minute. You should feel it in the muscles connected around your armpits.
For Hip Tightness and Glute Pain
1. Sit forward in your chair.
2. Cross one leg over so one ankle is on your other thigh.
3. Lean forward toward your ankle.
4. You’ll feel just a slight stretch on your hip. Hold this for 10 seconds and alternate.
For Upper Back Pain
1. Grab one elbow behind your head.
2. Gently pull your elbow in the opposite direction, letting your upper body tilt to the side.
3. You should feel a stretch in the muscles behind your ribs.
For Knee Pain
1. Sitting straight, slowly extend your leg out and back to the floor.
2. Repeat this “kicking” motion 10 times on each leg.
For Neck Pain
1. Keeping your spine straight, let your head roll to one shoulder.
2. As you exhale, roll your head forward down to your chest.
3. Roll your head over to the other shoulder and back up again.
4. Repeat this, letting your head start on the opposite shoulder.
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