Five Essential Back Stretches
These days, people are sitting for 9+ hours a day!
From commuting to work, sitting at a desk at work, commuting home and then parking in front of another device (TV, computer, phone, tablet) all night, it’s rare that we aren’t sitting.
Benefits Of Stretching At The Office
Research shows that stretching can reduce pack pain by up to 72%. Save yourself a little pain and loosen up by doing these 5 stretches each day. As a bonus you’ll not only reduce stress and keep your aligned, you’ll also improve your comfort, increase your energy levels and can even improve your mood and feelings of self-worth and attractiveness!
The health of your lumbar spine is directly affected by the action of the hip flexors and hamstrings. Tightness in the hamstrings places increased stress on the low back and often aggravates or even causes some of the
conditions that lead to sciatica symptoms or low back pain. Healthy, conditioned and well maintained hip flexors and hamstrings are key for the prevention of hip, knee and lumbar issues.
- Standing Hamstring Stretch: This is the most common technique. While standing, simply bend forward at the waist with arms hanging down and with legs relatively straight. Try to touch the toes but do not strain to do so. Stop when a stretch is felt in the hamstring.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch:
While standing with feet shoulder-width apart, take a half-step
back with the right foot, bend the left knee and shift weight back to the right hip. While keeping the right leg straight, bend forward more and reach down the right leg until a stretch in the outer hip is felt.
Upper Body Stretch
The amount of time you spend hunching increases tension and stress in your shoulder muscles and joints. These stretches will help reverse your hunching posture by opening your shoulders and upper body.
- Overhead Stretch: Sit up in your chair, stretching your arms overhead and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms up. Hold for 20-30 seconds as you inhale and exhale.
Looking down at a phone, tablet or computer all day means hunched shoulders and additional stress and strain on your neck. Tight neck muscles can cause nerve damage, reduced blood flow and even headaches. These stretches will help decrease strain and realign the neck.
- Side Neck Stretch (ear to shoulder): With your shoulders relaxed, tilt your head towards your shoulder, gently pulling your head closer to your shoulder with your hand. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
Low Back Stretch
Low back pain is one of the most common problems amongst office workers—mostly due to sitting in a static position within an office chair all day. Slouching while sitting puts extra pressure on the spine, causing inflammation and pain. Try these stretches to realign and lengthen the spine.
Back Flexion Stretch: While lying on one's back, pull both knees to the chest while simultaneously flexing the head forward until a
comfortable stretch is felt in a balled-up position. (Hold for 30-60 seconds).
Tips For Safe Stretching
- Be safe. Do not stretch until it hurts. It should feel good—if it doesn’t and you feel pain, stop. We recommend holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds at a time. Shake it out and then repeat if you want.
- Stretch often. Experts recommend getting up from your desk at least once an hour for five minutes—the perfect amount of time to do a couple of quick stretches before getting back to the grind.
- Don’t bounce. Bouncing makes it harder to control your stretch and the rocking motion may make any injuries you have worse.
- Breathe. Always remember to breathe while stretching—holding your breath will tense up your muscles.
- Move slowly. Take each stretch slow. Jerking into a stretch may cause you to overextend or pull a muscle.