Sitting at a desk all day, slouched in front of a computer, can wreak havoc on your body—especially your back and hips. It’s extremely common for that sitting habit of yours to cause you to suffer from lower back pain, neck problems, tight hips flexors, and poor posture. Taking a few minutes throughout the day to stretch and strengthen your back and hips can alleviate some of those issues, help you feel better, and improve your productivity at the office! Here are 5 moves to practice before work, after work, or even at your desk!
1. Swimming-Start by lying prone (on your stomach) with your arms and legs outstretched, legs hips width distance apart, and arms shoulder width apart. Lift your left arm and your right leg up, extending your spine and keeping your gaze down at the floor; then switch to the opposite arm and leg. Once you can maintain control, begin to increase your pace and continue to lift up, using your upper back muscles, back line of your arms, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side.
2. Opposite Arm and Leg Reach-Begin on the floor on all fours with your hands directly under your shoulders and knees underneath your hips, making sure your elbows are not hyperextended. Hold strong through your core as you stretch your right arm forward and your left leg straight back. Keep your hips square by turning the leg that is lifted slightly inward. Think about maintaining a straight line from the fingertips to the toes. Switch sides slowly and with control, maintain a strong core throughout the exercise. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side.
3. Plank-Holding a simple plank on your hands or forearms is a great core strengthening and back stabilizing exercise. Place your hands or elbows directly underneath your shoulders and extend your legs directly behind you. As you breath continue to engage your core to support your spine. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
4. Seated Chair Extensions-Sit in a chair with a back with your body towards the back edge of your chair, place your feet flat on the floor, and your hands behind your head. Take a big inhale, then on your exhale begin to extend your spine over the back of the chair. Take a breath in your extension and then return to an upright position. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
5. Seated Hip (Piriformis)-Stretch Sit towards the edge of your chair with both feet flat on the floor. Pick up your right foot, and place your right ankle on your left thigh. Gently place your right hand on your right thigh and begin to hinge forward, allowing your right hip to open. Continue hinging at your hips to increase the stretch, being sure to maintain equal weight on both sides of your pelvis. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Switch legs, and repeat on the other side.