Craning your neck forward at a computer all day creates tension in the shoulders. Sitting can also make the lower body constricted and the leg muscles inactive.
To combat muscle tightness, take stretch breaks throughout your workday in addition to regular movement breaks. Use your stretch routine to ease stiff muscles. Be sure to hold stretches no longer than 30 seconds and stop if you feel any pain.
1. Shoulder shrugs
Bring yourself to an upright position with your chin level to the floor.
Warm up the neck muscles by slowly bringing your right ear to your right shoulder only moving your head.
Tuck the chin and create a semi-circle bringing your left ear to the left shoulder and then circle back again.
Once your neck muscles are warmed up shrug your shoulders high up to your ears and very slowly release the shoulder blades down the back.
2. Trunk twists
Trunk twists can be performed seated or standing. They help to open up the spine and the side of the body.
Place your feet firmly on the ground about shoulder width apart. Bring the elbows up and out as you turn slowly to one side.
Be sure not to push past your natural range of motion. There should be no discomfort in this position.
Gently twist to the other side being conscious of your gaze. Keep the head elevated and look over your shoulder.
3. Deep lunge
The hamstrings and glutes can become exceedingly tight and tender from sitting all day.
Properly activating and lengthening the leg muscles is imperative to ensuring long term joint mobility.
Step forward with one foot and bend it at the knee making sure the space between your legs and the ground is approximately 90 degrees.
Sink into the depth of this stretch by moving past 90 degrees and lowering your knee closer to the ground.
Place the hands on the hips for enhanced stability.
4. Hip flexor stretch
To stretch the hip flexors, lower your body to the ground from a lunge position. Hug your front thigh to your torso and extend the back leg.
You can keep your torso upright and fingertips on the ground. If you choose to stretch more deeply, bring your forearms to the ground.
Raise the arms straight up overhead, lay the palms on the ground, and walk the fingertips forward as you keep your forehead down.
5. Calf wall stretch
The calf muscles are often neglected.
To release tightness in the calves, use a wall or sturdy surface to leverage your upper body weight against your lower body.
Bring one foot forward towards the wall, bending the leg at the knee.
Extend your back leg outwards and straighten it to lengthen your calf muscle. You may choose to point your back toes outward at about a 45-degree angle or keep them straight.
Always be sure to breathe deeply through stretches and gently release them.
Never pull on your joints or extend your stretch to the point where you are in pain.
Consult your physical therapist or certified personal trainer to learn more about proper stretching.
Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford native, NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris – https://dearfitkris.wordpress.com/