When we sit for long periods of time, our muscles become overstretched such as the shoulder blades, shortened such as in the abdomen, and full of tension such as in the lumbar. Stretching along with cardio and weight training is an important component to our health and wellness. Here are 5 sit down stretches that are easy and simple to do even from your desk.
1. Neck Stretch
Be careful not to pull on your head. The muscles that this stretch targets are the upper trapezius. When the upper trapezius muscles become tight, it can result in tightness in the back, shoulders, neck and even headaches. In order to relax this muscle, place your left hand on the top of your head and slowly tilt your head to the left. Chin down. Lean your head away and feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds then release. Stretch the other side.
2. The Abdominal Stretch
After prolonged sitting the abdominal muscles are shortened. The organs within the abdominal region are also affected. Because the organs are compressed, they receive less blood circulation, resulting in damaged organs if position is not changed.
The abdominal stretch is easy to perform. Lie on your back on a stability ball. Drape your body over the ball and extend your arms and legs until a stretch is felt in your abdominal area. Hold for 30 seconds.
3. The Thoracic and Lumbar
The thoracic and lumbar are part of the spine. The muscles surrounding the spine become tight after much sitting. The angry cat and the happy dog stretch target these muscles by stretching them out.
4. Star Reach
Think of reaching for the stars when performing this stretch. The star reach stretch stretches all the major muscles in the body. Think of taking a jumping jack stance for performing this exercise. Stretch your arms above your head. In order to engage more of your muscles, stand on your toes as if reaching for the stars.
5. Shoulder Shrugs
Take a break from the computer. As a result of working long hours at the computer, shoulder muscles between your shoulder blades become overstretched and painful. Shoulder shrugs are a great way to relax your shoulders. By creating a muscle contraction, blood begins to flow, allowing the muscle to get more oxygen. Tension will release allowing the muscles to relax once fatigued by the contractions. Lift shoulders upwards and then contract them.
Don’t forget to add a good stretching regimen to your health and wellness program. Maintaining flexibility is important, particularly, as we age. Supple muscles help to prevent injury and alleviate inflammation that can occur as a result of insufficient movement.