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Otávio Banffy

6 body stretches for those who stay sit all day long

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We often take many things for granted, and one of those things is our very health.

Along with our minds, we must also take care of our body, and staying sit all day long working isn't good for it. I can't possibly cover everything that you need to think about when taking care of your body's health, but I can give a few pointers at least. The aforementioned Pomodoro, the breaks, etc. are all good tips, but making exercises and keeping yourself active is a step beyond that I'm certain most of you neglect.

Without further ado, here is a few body stretches for you to perform:

Quote

[The exercises are] designed to counter the muscle-weakening, joint-stiffening, and shoulder-hunching effects of spending too much time on your keister.
 
For best results, combine this routine with these 12 moves for better flexibility.
 
What to do: Hold each of these static stretches for 30 seconds, and try to do the series in this order, twice a day.

1. Supported Backbend

deep backbend

Why: Bending backward helps improve posture and supports the muscles that stabilize your spine.
How: Stand facing away from a wall, your heels about 1' away from the baseboard. With your arms over your head, elbows bent backward so that your palms are facing the wall, slowly lean back and catch your body weight with your hands. Walk your hands down the wall until you begin to feel a stretch. (You may also need to step farther away from the wall as your back bends.)

Be sure to start slowly; as your back gets stronger, you'll be able to go deeper into the backbend. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, drop your jaw, and breathe in and out through your nostrils as you hold the backbend.

Here's the gentler version of the backbend move:

shallow backbend

MORE: 10 Exercises That Burn More Calories Than Running

2. Lunge with Rotation

lunge with rotation

Why: Build strength in your legs and shoulders while stretching your hips. The twists will also help maintain healthy spinal movement (healthy discs).
How: From a standing position, take a big step forward with your right foot into a lunge, taking care that your right knee does not extend past your toes. Place your hands on either side of your right foot. Now lift your right arm toward the ceiling and turn your gaze upward at the same time. As you exhale, try to go a little deeper into the rotation. Switch sides and repeat.

Here's the gentler example of the lunge with rotation:

lunge with rotation

The lunge is not as deep as a “runner's lunge,” and the bottom hand touches the knee, not the floor.

3. Shoulder Opener

shoulder opener stretch
Why: Sitting tends to pull our shoulders inward and collapse our chest. This move opens the shoulders and chest.
How: Stand up straight and tall, holding a towel or belt in each hand behind your back. Raise your arms behind you as high as you can without feeling discomfort. Pull your shoulders back and together as you lift the towel. (Try this strength-training routine for strong, sexy shoulders.)

 

4. Low Cobra with Feet Elevated

low cobra stretch


Why: Stretch your hip flexors (they get really tight from being bent in a seated position for too long), strengthen the glutes, open the chest and shoulders, and strengthen the lower back. (Try this hip-opening yoga routine.)
How: Lie facedown with your ankles resting on a foam roller or set of yoga blocks. Press your forearms into the floor and pull your shoulders back as you raise your head up and back.

5. Star Reach

star reach
Why: This move lengthens the body by stretching the shoulders, chest, mid-back, hips, and ankles, and it's the perfect antidote for chair-tightened joints and muscles.
How: Stand with your legs slightly wider than hip width. Reach your arms high in the sky with palms facing forward. Spread your fingers. Rise high on your tippy-toes. You'll experience an exhilarating stretch from the extension of the ankles, knees, hips, chest, and shoulders.

 

6. Number 4 Sit

number4 sit


Why: The piriformis, a little muscle in your rear end, atrophies and tightens with prolonged sitting. With a simple stretch you can keep your piriformis active and flexible. 
How: While seated, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Use your right hand to apply a tiny bit of pressure to the inside of your right knee, and then slightly lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your right piriformis (on the side of your glute). Hold the stretch there as you inhale. When you exhale, attempt to apply a tad more pressure and lean a half an inch farther forward into the stretch. Continue with each breath. Switch sides and repeat.

 

I used to do some of those in extreme levels. Especially the cobra one.

You can perform number 3 on a counter as well.

There are numerous exercises that you can perform with your own weight for you to look up, if you don't want to go to a gym just so you can stay fit.

If you prefer to do non-stretching-only exercises, there are some here and here as well.

That's it for now. Stay motivated!

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