You make healthy choices. You make time for regular physical activity. You even have a fitness tracker. No matter how aware of your health you may be, chances are one daily activity is hurting you.
If you sit throughout most of your day, you likely have sitting disease, which is linked to an earlier death, and worsening of conditions like heart disease, cancer or type 2 diabetes.
But in today’s world of desk jobs, how are we supposed to overcome this health threat? By making time to move, even if it’s just for a few minutes each hour or every few hours.
Whether you’re sitting at your desk, sitting during your commute or sitting at home, try these simple stretches to add some movement to your daily routine and flexibility to your life.
1. Side Stretch
This stretch can help you sit taller, provide a good stretch from your lower back all the way up to your shoulders and can help lengthen your spine and sides of your body.
How to do it: Stand at your desk, or anywhere you have room to move, with your feet and legs together. Inhale, reach your arms above your head and grab your right wrist with your left hand. Keep your hips shoulders square and lean to your left, pulling your right arm with your left hand. This will create a stretch along your right side. Hold this stretch for three breaths and then repeat on the other side.
2. Shoulder Stretch
For most of us who spend each day seated at a desk craning our necks to see our screens, this stretch can help fight against slouching shoulders.
How to do it: Stand with your feet hip distance apart, keeping your feet pointed forward. Clasp your hands behind your back, inhale and straighten your legs and set your shoulders back. Squeeze your arms straight, exhale and bend forward. You should feel this stretch lifting your shoulders and opening your upper back.
3. Seated Pigeon Stretch
This stretch helps to open up the lower back and hips, which can help relieve pain you have in those areas. It can also help promote good posture while sitting at your desk.
How to do it: Sit on the edge of a chair and make sure your left foot is planted firmly on the floor. Then put your ankle over your left thigh and flex your right foot. Sit back to create a broadening in your pelvis and lower back. Repeat on the other side.
Though you might not be able to control how much you sit during the day, you can control when and how you work in small movements. Doing these stretches is a simple way to maintain flexibility and get the blood flowing whether you’re sitting at your desk or relaxing at home.