Stretching is important if you sit for long periods of time. Sitting down for too long will cause your neck, shoulders, and back to become stiff and weak, and if you don’t stretch regularly, it can increase your chances of injury. If you have a sedentary job, try some of these stretches.
1. Chest stretch
Chest stretches are important if you have a sedentary job because you’re spending hours hunched over on a computer. All you have to do is place your arms behind you and interlock your fingers together if you can. Then straighten your arms and lift your hands until you feel a stretch in your chest. You can do this stretch while standing, sitting, or holding a towel behind you.
2. Shoulder rolls
Your shoulders carry a lot of tension when you sit all day typing, and shoulder rolls can help release some of the tension. Rotate your shoulders forward in big circles then roll them backward. This is a great stretch for loosening up your shoulders. You can also do shoulder rolls while sitting or standing, but make sure that your chest is lifted and your back is straight during this exercise.
3. Child’s pose
The child’s pose is a gentle stretch that will help your back, hips, thighs, and ankles. If you suffer from back pain, this stretch is your new best friend! Start on your hands and knees, and spread your knees as wide as you can. Rest your stomach in between your thighs and rest your forehead on the floor. You can stay in this stretch for as long as you’d like.
4. Kneeling hip flexor
Your hips will get tight from sitting down for long periods of time, so we have to make sure to give those hip flexors a good stretch from time to time! The starting position for this stretch is getting in a lunge with one knee on the floor and the other bent at a 90-degree angle. With one hand on your hip, use the other one to grab the foot that’s behind you and gently pull it towards you. Make sure to keep your torso up during this exercise.
5. Standing hamstring stretch
If tight hamstrings are an issue, you’ll want to get a good hamstring stretch in. There are two ways to do this easy stretch: either both legs at a time or one leg at a time. To do both legs at a time, cross one foot over the other and slowly bend down at the waist while keeping your knees straight. Hold that position for a few moments before switching legs. For one leg at a time, rest one heel on something like a stack of books or a short stool. Keeping your knee straight, slightly bend forward at the hip. Hold that stretch for a few moments before switching legs.
6. Thoracic bridge
This exercise and stretch may be simple, but it will change your life for the better if you sit all day. The thoracic bridge is one of the best moves to help with any mobility and flexibility issues. It strengthens your spine and improves your balance. Start by getting in a crawling position with your knees slightly off the ground. Lift your opposite arm and foot slowly at the same time and twist slightly. With both feet on the ground now, reach your arm slightly across your body. After holding this stretch for a few moments, you’re going to switch sides.
7. Upper back stretch
This stretch will target all the muscles between your shoulder blades and your shoulders as well. Stretch your arms out in front of you and make sure your palms are facing away from each other. Cross your arms so that your palms are pressed together, round your back, contract your abs, and keep your neck relaxed. This is another stretch that can be performed while standing or sitting.
8. Spinal twist
A spinal twist stretch can help people release the tension in their back from sitting for prolonged times. All you have to do is gently rotate your torso while keeping your back straight and your hips square and your feet flat on the floor. Twist as far as you comfortably can and hold that position for a few seconds before switching to the other side. If you’re sitting in an office chair while doing this stretch, you can use the armrests to help deepen the stretch ONLY if you’re able to.
9. Neck stretch
Sitting down for long periods of time will undoubtedly cause neck pain. While sitting up or standing down, slowly and gently rotate your neck from left to right. Make sure not to put any strain on your neck. Hold your neck stretch on each side for a few seconds before you rotate.
10. Wrist stretch
Along with typing and using the mouse all day, your hands and wrists also perform many other tasks that can cause them to get stiff. Do stretch your wrists, hold one arm out in front of you and use the other to pull your fingers back toward your wrist. Pull them back far enough until you feel the stretch, but not too far to where you could hurt yourself. Hold this stretch for a bit before switching hands.
11. Overhead triceps and shoulder stretch
The overhead triceps and shoulder stretch is another exercise you can do while standing up or sitting down. While standing or sitting tall, bring one arm overhead and let your forearm drop behind your upper back. Using your free hand, gently pull your arm until you feel a stretch in your shoulder and the back of the arm.
12. Cobra stretch
The cobra stretch will target your chest, lungs, shoulders, and abdomen and is great for relieving tightness in the upper body. Start by laying on your tummy, then lift your chest up while keeping your neck long, elbows slightly bent, and keep your hands next to your ribcage. Your feet should be about hip-width apart. It’s important to have proper form when doing the cobra stretch, or else you could end up hurting you back even more.
13. Cat and cow stretch
The cat and cow stretch can help with any back pain you may be experiencing from sitting for long periods of time. To do this exercise, start on all fours and tilt your pelvis back while inhaling for the cow pose. While exhaling, tuck your tailbone in for the cat pose. This stretch can help improve your posture.
14. Happy baby pose
This simple stretch can help relieve pain in many areas of the body, including your hamstrings, inner thighs, and groin. Lie on your back and keep your spine in a neutral position. Bring your knees toward your chest, and keep your feet flexed. Imagine positioning yourself like a baby when they try to stick their toes in their mouths!
15. Bridge pose
The bridge pose stretches out the front of the body while strengthening the back of the body. You start by laying flat on your back with your feet flat on the floor. Pressing with the back of your shoulders, slowly raise your hips off the floor while keeping your hands and feet firmly planted on the ground. Don’t forget to breathe and to keep your neck neutral, so you don’t injure yourself.
16. Office chair back stretch
Feel the need to stretch but don’t quite have the time to get out of the chair? You can try this quick and easy office chair back stretch to ease any pain you might feel. While sitting down, place your hands on your lower back for support, and lean back. You might even hear your back crack a bit while doing this stretch!
17. Calf raises
It’s important to stretch your calves as well if you have a sedentary job. This exercise will strengthen your calves’ muscles, improve your ankle’s strength and stability, and help prevent injury. To do this stretch, stand by a wall or a table for some support when needed. To do this stretch, stand by a wall or a table for some support when needed. Slowly stand on the toes and hold that stretch for a few moments before coming back down.
18. Torso twists
Stretch the muscles in your back, sides, and arms with seated torso twists. While sitting on a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor, twist your torso to the side. Try to touch the back of the chair if you can, and hold the stretch for a few moments before switching sides.
19. Supine figure 4
The figure 4 stretch can help with the mobility of your hips and glutes. Start by laying on your back with both feet flat on the floor. Cross one ankle over the other knee, bring your knee to your chest, and use your hands to gently pull your knee closer to your chest until you feel a stretch. After holding the stretch for a few moments, switch to the other leg.
20. Figure 4 twist
The figure 4 twist is just another variation of the supine figure 4. It still has the same benefits of increasing hip mobility and stretching the glutes, but it’s also great for spine mobility. Start by laying on your back with your feet flat on the floor, and cross one ankle over the other thigh. With your arms straight out, rotate your hip away from your body and hold that stretch for a few moments before switching sides.
What are some stretches that you would like to try first? Comment below!
Hi, I'm Latasha! I was born and raised in sunny South Florida and graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2018. I have my bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in writing and rhetoric. I'm also planning to go back to school to get my MFA in creative writing in the near future. I consider myself to be a storyteller, and I love writing and blogging about lifestyle-related topics. My ultimate goal is to become a published author.