In this post, you’ll discover simple stretches that can provide relief if you have too much pain from sitting.
Sitting for too long leads to all kinds of problems. One of those problems is pain.
Studies show that at least 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time.
And Americans spend at least 86 billion dollars each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs!
But it’s not only back pain.
Other risk factors of prolonged sitting include:
- Bad posture
- Poor physical conditioning facilitated by inactivity
- Osteoporosis or bone loss
- Low metabolism
Whether sitting at a desk at your home office or sitting in a car on your commute, we tend to round our upper backs when in a seated position.
This overtime makes our muscles weak and tight.
The good news is that simple stretches can help you not only get rid of pain from sitting, but also help you become more active.
Let’s look at some of these stretches.
1. The Cat and Cow Pose
This is one of my favorite yoga stretches when I feel back pain.
This pose allows you to improve your body’s balance and flexibility, while at the same time increasing your energy.
- To start, bring your body to a tabletop position with your knees under your hips.
- Place your arms under your shoulders and your back flat and parallel to the floor.
- Place your knee pads on the floor and your fingers pointing forward.
- Next, inhale and drop your belly towards the floor as you draw your shoulders back and keep your gaze fixed up towards the ceiling.
- To move into the Cat pose, exhale and move your core and upper back up towards the ceiling.
- Release the neck and look towards the navel keeping the shoulders upright.
- Inhale and repeat the process to move into the Cow pose and exhale to return into the Cat pose.
2. Child’s pose
There’s one thing a physical therapist or personal trainer is likely to tell you: stretching can help with bad posture.
And one of those simple stretches you can do is the child’s pose (don’t let the name deceive you into thinking it’s only for kids or ineffective!)
When your back-muscle Latissimus Dorsi is strained, you need to do this stretching.
- Sit on the floor on feet and bend your knees.
- Your knees and the lower legs are touching the floor.
- Do not stretch your feet backward. You will need support form toes to push hips.
- Now stretch your arms forward as much as you can and bring your head downward.
- Stay there for a few seconds. And then return towards the original position.
- Three reps are enough
3. Downward Dog Pose
This stretch works on several muscles including the waist, the hamstrings; but specifically the back.
For those of us who have a lot of discomfort at the back after sitting for so long, the downward dog pose is just right for you.
- Go on your knees and place your palms on the floor shoulder-width apart with your fingers away from the body.
- Raise your body on your toes.
- The toe should support the body up.
- Keep your arms and your legs straight and make sure your waist is pointing up towards the ceiling.
- Open your legs slightly apart and firmly plant your feet on the ground.
- Keep the arms and the legs still straight.
- You can go on to bend the knees alternatively to go deeper into the pose.
4. Wall Angels
Wall Angels can help you fix poor posture and pain that results from sitting for a long time.
- Stand straight with a wall and your back facing the wall.
- Step forward so your back can be straight against a wall in a better way.
- Extend your arms upwards against the wall and bend them
- Move your arms slowly down and upwards with the wall.
- Move them upwards as much as you can. And return them until they touch your hand.
- Do 10 reps.
The key is to make sure your heels are close to the wall as much as you can.
And at the same time, make sure your hips and entire spine are firmly pressed into the wall.
It’s okay to feel tightness. In that case, move your heels slightly further from the wall, and bend your knees to give you more flexibility.
6. Standing Forward Bend Pose (Uttanasana)
When you sit for a long period, your upper body becomes inactive and sometimes numb.
Ths Standing Forward Bend pose helps to stretch the hamstrings, calves, and legs.
If you have stiffness in your legs, the standing forward bend pose is one of the best stretches you can do.
Here’s how you do it:
- Stand in a neutral position with your legs together and your feet planted firmly on the ground.
- At the waist, bent the upper body down until your face almost touches your knees. Be sure to keep the back.
- If you’re finding problems keeping the legs straight, don’t worry, you can bend them a little at the knee.
- You can hold your ankles for the extra support.
- Stay in this position for about ten seconds move back to your original position.
As society gets more convenient and sedentary, pain from sitting will continue to be a challenge, and these stretches will help.
Taking minutes during your day to stretch can help you feel better and overall improve your mood and alertness.
Research suggests that when we stretch, we reboot a part of our nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system.
This revs up all the body’s background processes that keep you awake and alert during the day.
Add these 5 stretches to your routine and get relief from sitting for so long.
So stretching then is a plus if you want your day to be an extra perfect one. When you can, also try hot yoga for similar de-stressing effects.