People believe in many things, but here at Eudaemonio we believe in one thing and one thing only and that’s – STRETCHING EXERCISES (and some believe in other stuff, but they are being dealt with)! Since this article is all about you, we made a list with a graphic view of the top 7 stretching exercises that can counter the problems of sitting for a long time, for a start.
Regular stretching can improve a number of aspects of your daily life. From keeping your muscles flexible to helping you regulate blood pressure . Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a cure-all, but it will do you a lot of good.
In the following article, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best and easiest stretching exercises. Some of them you can actually do while sitting down (no, this is not a stretch of the imagination).
Why Is Stretching Important?
Doing stretching exercises regularly will keep your muscles flexible, healthy, and strong . So, why is that important? Well, simple, it all comes down to keeping and maintaining the range of motion in your joints.
If you don’t stretch, your muscles will become shortened and tight, you can read more about that in our article on bad work posture and how it causes shoulder pain. So, when you choose to use them (or participate in any sort of physical activity) they won’t be able to extend all the way (basically they will be weaker).
That means that without regular stretching your chances of experiencing muscle damage, joint pain, or different kinds of strains, are increased.
Sitting for a long time
The most common example that a lot of us have experienced is a tight hamstring. It’s usually the result of sitting in an office chair all day. What are the consequences of a tight hamstring?
You won’t be able to extend your knee all the way, which can negatively affect your ability to walk. The more you spend time sitting, the higher the chances of this becoming a regular thing. Stretching doesn’t take up too much of your time and doesn’t require any specific equipment (meaning it’s basically free). All it takes is a little bit of commitment and consistency.
These are the top 7 stretching exercises
1. Neck Side Bend and Rotation
The great thing about this exercise is that you can do it standing or sitting down (it doesn’t matter as it only involves your neck).
- The first thing you should do is tilt your head to the right. When you do that you will feel a stretch going through your neck down to your trap muscle.
- Hold the position for about 10 seconds.
- After 10 seconds, slowly roll your head counterclockwise until you reach your left shoulder (shouldn’t take long).
- Hold for another 10 seconds and continue the roll to your right shoulder.
- And that’s it, you’ve just successfully completed one of the best stretching exercises in the world (I am of course exaggerating, by a lot).
2. Shoulder roll (Backward and Forward)
Now for this one, you’ll have to stand (sorry, but them’s the rules!).
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Relax your arms and let them sort of hang down by the sides of your body.
- Slowly bring your shoulders up towards your ears, and start moving them backward in a circular motion.
- Try to complete at least 5 rotations!
To do the shoulder roll forward, repeat every step, but instead of rolling backward go (you’ve guessed it!) forwards. If not certain what to do, watch the gif and mimic the movement.
3. Overhead Arm Reach
- Sit in a chair facing forward.
- Place your hands on your hips.
- Raise your right arm above your head and reach to the left. While doing this try not to lean forwards or backward.
- Feel free to bend your torso in the direction of your hand until you feel the stretch in your right lat and shoulder.
- Repeat with the other hand.
- Do 5 reps on each side to get the most out of it!
Another one that you can do from the comfort of your chair. (You mean I don’t have to stand up to exercise? That sounds fishy?!? Don’t worry, we have a GIF to prove it!)
4. Scapular Squeeze
You have to stand up for this one (I know, I know… sorry for inconveniencing you.).
- Stand up (once again, sorry), and put your arms by your side.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades and pull them back.
- Hold for about 10 seconds before returning to the starting position.
- Repeat this exercise at least 5 times!
On to the next one!
5. Standing Forward Bend
This one is as simple as the name suggests. All you have to do is stand up (oh, crap) and bend forward.
- Start with standing up and getting into the proper posture (keep your back straight).
- Put your arms by your side.
- Slowly bend forward to a point you feel most comfortable (don’t go too far, cause you could fall on your face).
- Keep the position for 5-10 seconds.
- You should aim for creating a 90-degree angle between your torso and legs, but if you can’t do it now, don’t fret! Do it until the point you feel the most comfortable.
- Get back to the starting position and repeat the whole thing at least 3 times.
If not certain what to do, look at our amazing gif that we’ve made just for this occasion (do you feel special now?).
6. Tight Core Rotations
You’ll have to stand up for this one as well (I feel like I’ve betrayed you, at this point).
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Extend both of your arms in front of you while keeping your palms together.
- Rotate your upper body to the right and then get back to the starting position.
- Do this 5-10 times.
- Repeat while rotating to the left.
If the instructions are too complicated, reference the gif and you’ll be fine.
7. Rounded Back to Chest Opener
This one is a stand-er up-er as well.
- Extend your arms in front of you.
- Go in for an imaginary hug (imagine you are hugging a tree or a really big person).
- Keep this position for 10 seconds.
- After 10 seconds pull and extend your arms backward as much as you can (this will stretch your chest).
- Repeat 3-5 times.
Once again, if not certain what to do, consult the gif (I prounance it JIFF).
The Bottom Line
You’ve made it to the end! Congratulations! However, I hope you weren’t sitting for a long time while reading this, but hey success requires sacrifice!
Hopefully, you also did some stretching along the way to immediately see the reason why is stretching important. (We’ve invested a lot of time into those gifs so don’t be a spoilsport)!
Even 10 minutes of stretching a day can have a meaningful impact on your physical and mental health! From helping you relieve back pain to regulating blood pressure, and all in between, stretching is the way to go.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of stretching exercises (“I think you just did that, in this article?”).