Working at a desk, computer, or just being sedentary throughout the day can cause our hips and shoulders to feel “stuck” or tight. It usually causes a level of discomfort, and in harsher cases, can even become painful.
How do we fix it?
If you can’t call it quits for the day, there are simple exercises you can do to feel more mobile, and get your blood flowing. Try these moves, right at the edge of your desk - add these in throughout your day, every couple hours, and I bet you’ll start to feel a difference!
1. Shoulder Rolls. Sit or stand in an upright position. Relax your shoulders. Roll your shoulders back 10 times. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 3x or as needed.
This will get a bit more blood flow, and allow for more lubrication in the joint. You may even feel a difference right away in how you feel!
2. Pec Stretch. Sit or stand, keeping your neck, shoulders, and torso relaxed. Keep your chin level. Clasp your hands behind your back and try to straighten your arms as much as you can, stretching your chest out, your Pectoral muscles.
The more we sit at a desk or over a keyboard, we tend to hunch over and round our shoulders forward, which after time, can cause lots of discomfort! Stretching out those pectoral muscles reminds us to keep our chest upright and proud.
3. Head Rolls. Tilt your head to the right and gently roll the neck to look down. Roll to the left side, then straight up, and back to center. Do at least 3 rolls to one side, and change directions and repeat in the other direction (Left, Down, Right, Up).
Head rolls improves your overall range of motion, and will aid in relieving neck pain.
4. Lateral Neck Stretch. Sit or stand, and relax your shoulders. Tilt your head to the right so your right ear moves toward your right shoulder, until you feel a stretch in the left side. Hold for ten seconds, and repeat 3x in each direction.
If you want to step it up a notch, you can add pressure, getting a deeper, larger stretch, by placing your hand on your head and gently pressing your head deeper towards your shoulder. This exercise is really great to stretch out that tight muscle called the Trapezius (more commonly referred to as “traps”. The traps span the neck, shoulders, and the back, superficially covering most of the upper back, which is where a lot of the discomfort from poor postures lays.
5. Q & L Stretch. Stand up, and cross your right foot over your left so your right leg is placed in front of the left. You can place your right hand onto something for support if you need. Lift your left hand up and over, stretching your left side into your left hip. Hold for 5 seconds, and return to standing. Repeat on one side about 3 times, and then try on the other side.
This stretch is a little more challenging, but if you have a tight lower back or tight hips, it will really help! Be sure to elongate your arms and shoulders as much as possible, without dropping into your hips or over-doing it. If crossing your legs is too difficult, you can still do the stretch with your feet just close together. The crossing adds a bit more of a stretch.
If you have been feeling stiff from sitting and staying sedentary, give these stretches a try if you feel like you have enough stability and balance. You can always use a chair, a table, or a friend for support.