We’ve all heard that Sitting Is The New Smoking — and it’s true — sitting too much is causing a host of avoidable health issues.
If you work a desk job, like 86 percent of your fellow Americans, don’t despair. There are plenty of simple ways to combat the effects of too much sitting.
Here are some simple stretches that can ease muscular tightness in the back, hips and legs. Plus, they can be conveniently done right at your desk in about 3 minutes. Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds:
- Seated Side Stretch
Sit up tall in your chair with feet flat on the ground. Inhale arms overhead lengthening the torso. Exhale bending to the right—lower right arm to side of chair. Breath into left ribcage. Inhale back to center and repeat on the other side.
- Seated Goal Post Stretch
Sit up tall in your chair with feet flat on the ground. Inhale arms overhead lengthening the torso. Pull belly button to spine and lengthen lower back by tilting pelvis. Exhale bending arms into a goal post position. Imagine opening up and back over a giant beach ball.
- Standing Forward Fold
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Toes forward. Soften knees as much as you need to avoid pain as you hinge hips back and lower torso over thighs. Try to relax your head and neck. Hands may touch the floor or hold onto legs where available.
- Standing Hip Flexor Stretch
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Toes forward. Step right foot back about 2-3 feet and lunge into left leg. Draw tailbone down as you straighten right leg back creating a stretch along front of right thigh & hip. If able, extend right arm overhead and breath deep. Return to starting point and repeat for the other side.
- Standing Hamstring and Calf Stretch
Stand with feet hip-width apart. Toes forward. Step right foot back 1 foot length. Bend knee and hinge hips back—keep left leg straight allowing toes to flex up off the floor. If you can grab your toes, give them a gentle pull toward your chest. Return to starting point and repeat for the other side.
- Seated Hip Stretch
Sit up tall. Cross right ankle over left thigh. Flex right foot and push gently through the heel to open the right hip. Begin to fold forward with a flat spine until you feel a stretch in your outer hip. Return to start and repeat for the other side.
Now you’re ready to dive back into work feeling more open and relaxed. It doesn’t take a lot of time to keep your body healthy, supple and feeling good — you just need to commit to doing it. Take little breaks throughout the day and you will notice a major improvement in, not only your physical comfort, but also your productivity and energy!