Stretches that Reduce Damage Caused By Prolonged Sitting
According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, more than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting. This includes any type of sitting activity, whether it’s watching television, working a desk job, sitting in traffic or doing other physically inactive pursuits.
Prolonged sitting can lead not only slouched shoulders, but can also lead to back pain, joint stiffness and muscle tightness. This can also cause serious health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and premature death.
As we sit, we tend to slouch our shoulders which leads to tight chest muscles. If we stretch our chest muscles it is easier to have good posture and keeps us from slouching. According to a study published by the American Diabetic Association, taking regular, hourly breaks to stretch and move around can help undo the stress your body takes from sitting.
Here are 3 easy stretches that relieve stress caused by prolonged sitting:
1. Chest Opening Stretch
I love this chest opening exercise because you can practice it in any doorway no matter where you are (even at work). To begin, find a doorway and open the door. Next, place one foot forward and bring both hands onto the doorway, about shoulder height.
Be sure to keep your elbows up as you gently lean forward. You should feel a nice stretch across the chest. Hold for at least 30 seconds, and repeat as necessary throughout the day.
2. Kneeling Lunge
When we sit, our hips are in a constantly in a “flexed” position. This leads to tight hips and back pain. Next time you’re feeling tight, try these kneeling lunges to open your hip flexors and get some much-needed relief!
Start by coming into a lunge and then drop the back knee on the ground. Next, bring both hands to your front knee. Then, slowly and carefully lean forward through the front leg. You should feel an opening in the hip of the back leg that is rested on the mat. Make sure to breathe here and hold for at least 30 seconds. Repeat for other side.
3. Towel Exercise
This one is one of my favorites! I have also fallen asleep in this position numerous times. This exercise not only opens the chest, but relaxes the back muscles to “undo” the rounding in our shoulders. I like to do this exercise before I go to bed and keep a rolled up towel next to my bed.
First, start by making sure you have the right kind of towel. The fluffier the towel, the less dense it will be, so try to find a towel that is more firm than fluffy. Fold the towel in half and roll it up tightly. Then simply place the towel between the shoulder blades while keeping the neck supported and relax!
Leave them in the comments below and we will help you achieve your maximum stretching potential and overall better posture. Happy stretching!