Ever leave the office after a long day of sitting in front of the computer and feel like you’ve just run a marathon? Is your body sore and stiff, feeling a couple of decades more than its age? Think back—how many times during the day did you stand up? Two times? Three if you drank enough coffee to fuel your labor?
If you want to end a marathon day feeling looser and more refreshed, throw some stretching routines into your workday mix. Tight hamstrings and hips increase your risk for lower back and other types of pain—and the best way to get tight hamstrings and hips is sitting all day. So keep it loose with these quick, easy stretches.
Once an hour, choose three quick stretches from these two lists:
- Neckroll. Drop the chin to chest and breathe; slowly roll to left, right, back to center, then all the way around.
- Chest-opener. Put hands behind your head, elbows out. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, pulling your elbows back. Hold for 10 seconds.
- Leg wake-up. While sitting in a chair, stretch legs straight out and rotate ankles and feet.
- Glute stretch: Cross legs by placing the left ankle on top of the right thigh. Lean down, bringing chest toward the thigh. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
- Thigh stretch: Lightly hold desk or wall for support. Bend left knee and grasp ankle or top of the foot, bringing it up gently toward the buttocks. Do not allow the knee to flare out to the side.
- Hamstring stretch: Stand with knees straight. Bend over, bringing torso toward legs.
- Ab stretch: Stand with arms overhead, arch back and lift chest up. Hold for 10 seconds.
- Side stretch: Stand with feet more than hip distance apart. Place left hand on hip or upper thigh, right hand outstretched over your head. Bend to left, reaching with the right hand and hold. Switch sides.
Always consult your healthcare practitioner before beginning a new exercise regime.
Miriam Wolf is the editor of The FruitGuys Magazine.