Sitting all day can build tension in the body. Not only can it cause physical health issues, but it can also affect people’s energy and level and mood.
Increase Flexibility Through Stretching
1. Thoracic Extension. The thoracic spine refers to the section of the upper back that sits between the cervical area of the neck and the lumbar spine. To use the stretch, clasp both hands behind the top of your head, and slowly, pull backward. This is a gentle stretch to help alleviate upper back and neck pain.
2. Back-bend. For lower back pain in the lumbar spine, back-bend stretches can help. To ease spinal tension, stand with both feet together. Press your hands behind your hips, and gaze at the ceiling. As you exhale, slowly bend backwards for a light stretch.
3. Reclining twist. Many community centers that offer stretching classes will use this position as a way to stretch the chest and glutes. By laying on your back, you can easily bring your right knee in towards your chest. Place your right hand on the outside of your left knee. Then, with your palm up, extend the right arm to the right and bring the left knee across the body for a gentle stretch.
4. Neck stretch. Neck stretches can be done while sitting down. Simply reach your left arm down to grip the seat of the chair, and then tilt your head to the right. Those who work on computers for most of the day can especially benefit from further neck flexibility.
5. Hamstring stretch. Despite stretching the legs, this exercise can also be done while sitting down. First, extend the left leg forward with the ankle resting on the right leg’s knee. While the right foot remains flat against the floor, position yourself upright. Align the spine and head as you fold forward to stretch the entire spine.
The Body in Motion
Intermittent breaks throughout the day can help prevent stiff joints and muscles. If periodic breaks are not possible, walking to work may be an option. Simply walking around the neighborhood once or twice can increase heart rate while flexing unused muscles from sitting.
Movement does not have to be vigorous to counteract sitting. Community recreational centers often offer movement classes that can range from stretching to swimming or yoga. This can be a great way to meet people while improving overall health.
An increasing number of people are finding themselves with sedentary jobs. To prevent muscle stiffness and spinal pain, even just 10 minutes of stretching can help.