As homo sapiens, we live relatively sedentary lives. Even if we prioritize our fitness goals and make sure to spend at least an hour being active every day, that leaves 23 hours where we are likely sitting, lying down, or midway between the two.
Most of our professions require us to be seated for a good portion of the day, or, on the other hand, if we have a job that requires us to stand for hours on end. Both ends of the spectrum are equally annoying because our bodies are either overworked or underworked.
It isn’t surprising to hear that most people over the age of 40 regularly complain of back aches, joints tender to the touch and muscles so stiff you could bounce a quarter off of them (and not in a good way.)
If you’re tired of dealing with physical and mental stress throughout the day, then consider putting your workflow on pause while you perform a few of these stretches. They only take a few minutes each day and—who knows—maybe a few deep will prevent you from hurling Greg across the conference room at the 3 p.m. board meeting. Maybe.
Neck, Lower Back and Hip Stretches
1. Head roll:
Start with your head in a neutral position, looking forward. Slowly roll your head to the right, then toward the middle while you look down and finally roll it to the left. In each position, hold until you feel a deep stretch in your trapezius muscles and upper back.
2. Hip stretch:
Prop one foot onto the opposite knee. With a straight back and neutral neck, lean forward and gently press down on the knee of the elevated leg. Hold for about 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
3. Lower back arch:
Place hands on either side of the chair’s seat. With feet planted on the ground firmly, raise your hips off of the chair seat and arch your back. Hold for about five seconds and relax back into a seated position. Think about pulling your shoulder blades together while in the arched position.
4. Spinal twist:
Exhale and slowly twist your shoulders toward the right, holding in the deepest part of the stretch for about five seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
5. Flat-footed calf stretch: If possible, remove your shoes—especially the high heels!—and perform a calf stretch. Place one leg in front of the other and lean forward, stretching the calf of the rear leg. Hold for approximately 15 seconds. Repeat on the opposite leg.