As more and more people get back to their pre-pandemic routines, many find themselves once again sitting at an office desk for eight hours a day and enduring a long daily commute. Which, as we all know, can be a major pain. Literally.
Sitting with your back rounded and hips and knees bent puts your body in a folded position. For extended periods of time, this position can put excessive force on the vertebrae, as well as shorten the muscles in your legs, which can cause undue stress on your joints. This leads to pain, which leads to less mobility, which leads to further stress on the joints and more pain.
You get the idea.
So, what can you do to help yourself out of this spiral? Jennifer Wilkins, PT, suggests three simple stretches to help you “unfold” from the sitting position at your desk or in your car. And the stretches shouldn’t take too much of your time.
“When performing stretches, one should be gentle and only work to the level of their own ability. If you experience worse pain or you are not sure that you are performing the stretch correctly, you may want to seek the advice of your doctor or physical therapist,” says Jennifer.
The following stretches can be done daily, or even twice a day for those who have long car rides home.
A. Foot can be on a step stool or chair. With knee and back straight and toes up,
lean chest forward, until a stretch is felt in the back of the leg — buttocks to heel. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two times per leg.
B. Lunge forward, keeping front knee above toes, stretching the opposite leg behind you. Squeeze buttocks and press back heel toward floor. Stretch should be felt in the front of the hip and calf of the back leg simultaneously. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two times per leg.
C. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at the top of your buttocks. Slowly arch backwards, opening up your hips. Hold 10 seconds and repeat 3-4 times.