7 restorative stretches for people who sit all day

These gentle stretches relieve neck and back pain for those who sit eight hours a day


Whether you are working from the kitchen table or the sofa, sitting in the same spot for hours on end can cause stiffness and pain. It is vital that we are staying active and stretching our muscles regularly.

The most common issues caused by prolonged sitting are neck stiffness, lower back pain and bad posture. A recent study found that office workers who stay static while sitting have higher levels of lower back pain than their more active co-workers. 

Small stretches and movements can make all the difference in alleviating this pressure.

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In addition to setting up a comfortable workspace, these simple exercises are a great way to promote healthy muscles and prevent strains.

Neck rolls

Start with your chin tucked into your chest, then slowly roll your neck clockwise to the right, back, left, and forward in a fluid movement. Then repeat the process going counterclockwise. 

Chest opener

When we sit hunched forward, our pectoral muscles shorten. To widen them, stand up and clasp your hands behind your back, making sure your arms are fully extended. Look up at the ceiling and press your hands down while rolling your shoulders back. Hold for ten seconds.

Shoulder shrugs

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We should try and sit with good posture (shoulders back and spine straight) as often as we can while at the computer. 

For this stretch, roll your shoulders up, back and down in a circular motion. Then repeat in a reverse motion, rolling them back, up and forward.

Hamstrings

Tight hamstrings can reduce pelvis mobility, causing increased pressure on your lower back. Stand up and place your right leg in front of your body with the foot flexed.

Slightly bend your left knee, and bend forward with your hands on your straight, right leg. Then repeat on the opposite leg.

Yoga poses

Twist lunge

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Lunging and twisting opens up stiffened hip flexors and stretches a compressed spine. From a standing position, take a big step forward with your right foot into a lunge (make sure your knee doesn’t extend past your toes).

Place your hands on the ground on either side of your right foot, then lift your right hand to the ceiling and twist your body to the right. Repeat with your left leg.

Child’s pose

Child’s pose elongates the spine, making it a great back stretch to relieve the spinal pressures of sitting.

Start on your hands and knees in a cat-like position, then slowly sit back onto your heels with the tops of your feet on the floor. Lay your chest forward and extend both your arms with palms facing down and relax completely.

Cobra

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This pose stretches your abdominal muscles and opens the chest, back and shoulders.

Lie down on your stomach and place your hands directly underneath your shoulders, with elbows tucked in. Take a deep breath, and straighten your arms so that your upper body rises while your hips remain pressed into the floor.

Read more: 5 nature walks to do around Dublin (while social distancing)

Read more: 11 things you'll understand if you've ever worked in an office

Read more: Working from home tips and tricks, as recommended by IMAGE readers

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