Research has shown that sitting all day can have adverse effects on your health. In fact, in addition to worsening pain in back, hips, neck, and shoulders, it can increase risks of high cholesterol, diabetes, and even cancer. Needless to say, if you’re currently stuck at home or working from home, it’s important to incorporate movement into your daily routine to protect yourself from the risks of staying sedentary. To make things simple, your friends at Brian Center Southpoint have put together a list of easy stretches that you can do at home to help reverse the impact of sitting.

Benefits of Stretching

Stretching has a lot of benefits. It can decrease muscle stiffness, protect you from injury, improve posture, lessen stress, and promote circulation, and even more! It’s important that stretching be done properly to avoid injury, but the benefits of stretching are too wonderful not to give it a try. 

Physical Benefits of Stretching

Stretching is a low-impact type of movement that can help ease the negative impacts of being housebound and keep your body protected from potential injury or strain. Some physical benefits of stretching include the following:

  • Better back alignment
  • Improved circulation and lower risk of blood clots
  • Lessened lower back pain
  • Loosens muscles to prevent injuries
  • And more!

Mental Benefits of Stretching

In addition to being good for your muscles, stretching is good for your mind. It can reduce muscle tension, lessening the feelings of stress you might be carrying. It can even increase your energy by increasing blood flow, making you feel sharper and more productive. 

Simple Stretches

To get you started stretching and improving your health, here are some simple stretches you can do at home! The two types of stretches you’ll see here are dynamic stretches, which move the muscles through their range of motion, and static stretches, where you hold a stretch to slowly extend and loosen a muscle.

Back Stretch

This dynamic stretch is a good way to loosen up after sitting for a long period of time. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands above your knees, bend your knees slightly and then slowly arch and round your back, taking your time to curl and open your shoulders. Do this a few times, being mindful to pay attention to how your body feels and to stop if anything twinges or hurts. 

Side Stretch

This is a static stretch, where you breathe into the pose to slowly loosen the muscles. To start, place your feet together and extend your arms over your head like you’re reaching for the sky. Then, slowly reach to one side, allowing your body to to tilt at the waist in the direction that you’re reaching. Once you’ve hit a point where you feel you can’t comfortably go further, take a few deep breaths, focusing on breathing into the muscles being stretched and feeling the sensation there. After at least five breaths, repeat on the other side. 

Shoulder Stretch

If you’re experiencing stiffness in your shoulders, this dynamic stretch is a great way to loosen things up. Simply stand with your arms hanging relaxed at your sides, and then breathe in and lift your shoulders to your ears. Then pull your shoulder blades together as you lower your shoulders. Finally, exhale and release your shoulders to neutral. Repeat 10 times.

Quadriceps Stretch

Another static stretch, the quadriceps stretch is a good way to loosen up the fronts of your legs. For this stretch, simply lift your foot towards your rear and capture your foot in your hand, holding it bent up against your leg. You can rest one hand on a wall to keep your balance. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch sides. To make this a dynamic stretch, walk along the wall, and every step, pull your foot up to your glute, hold for two-to-five seconds, and then release. Repeat on the other side on the next step. 

Child’s Pose Stretch

This common yoga pose is a great way to relax your mind while gently stretching your hips, ankles, and back. Begin on your hands and knees. Spread your knees wider than your hips, and slowly settle back so your rear is resting on your feet and your forehead is resting on the floor. If spreading your knees is too difficult, you can keep them together. Stretch your arms out long in front, or lay them back beside your legs. You can hold this pose for a minute—or as long as you’d like—and focus on breathing. It’s a great stretch to end on because it promotes relaxation and mindfulness. 

There are so many more stretches you can do, but these are a great starting point for anyone new to stretching. If static stretches or dynamic stretches feel better, stick to what your body prefers. Stretching is a great, low-impact way to get your body moving and prevent injury and stiffness. 

However, when you’ve experienced a debilitating injury or are in severe pain, self-guided exercises might not be enough. At Brian Center Southpoint, we specialize in pain-management services including electrical stimulation and ultrasound treatments. Give us a call to find out how we can help you!