Do You Sit at a Desk All Day? Here’s the 5 Stretches You Should Perform Daily (And Why)

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Technology has brought forth less labour-intensive jobs and more desk jobs.

Many people sit a desk 8 hours a day for 5 days a week. And the majority of people don’t move much during that time.

But the human body was made to move.

And various problems arise from sitting for too long. Certain muscles become shortened from being in the same position everyday. Your posture may suffer from how your office space or desk is set-up. By the time you get to retirement, you have a variety of aches and pains - and you aren’t sure how you got them.

The fix is inevitably to move more. Taking breaks every few hours to walk around the office or stretch it out can go a long way.

And if you want to stretch it out, we’ve got the lowdown on what kind of stretches you should be doing.

Here are the top 5 stretches you should perform every day - especially if you work at a desk.

1. The Hip Flexor Stretch

The hip flexors are located at the top of the thigh and the front of the hip. They frequently become shortened and sometimes irritated from sitting for long durations. As a result, it may pull your pelvis forward, amongst other issues causing pain. But stretching it out can help! Here’s how:

  • Position yourself in a low lunge. Allow your back knee to rest on the ground underneath your hips. Your front knee should be directly over top of your front ankle.

  • Lean slightly forward. You should feel a gentle stretch through the front of your back leg’s hip.

  • For more of a stretch, lift your arm on the same side as your back leg up to the sky.

  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. And repeat for the opposite side.

2. Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is a great way to stretch out your shoulders and back. Most people have a tendency to hunch forward at their desk. It creates stress on your shoulders, neck, and back. Thankfully, this stretch can ease these problems. Here’s how you do it:

  • Begin on all fours.

  • Slowly bring your buttocks back toward your heels. Go as far as you comfortably can.

  • Your arms and hands should remain outstretched in front of you.

  • Hold for 20-30 seconds. You can also extend your arms to one side or the other to get more of a stretch down the side of your shoulders or torso.

3. The Cat and Cow Stretch

This stretch improves your spinal flexibility. It prevents the dreaded back pain, which happens to a lot of people from a lack of movement combined with sitting for long durations. Here’s how you perform it:

  • Begin on all-fours. Position your hands directly under your shoulders, and place your knee directly under your hips.

  • Slowly arch your back down, dropping your belly toward the floor.

  • At the same time, bring your gaze upward.

  • Hold here for about 10 seconds. If it feels good, you can hold for longer.

  • Slowly arch your back up, bringing your belly button in toward your ribcage.

  • At the same time, bring your gaze down.

  • Again, hold for 10 seconds or longer.

  • You can continue to alternate between these two positions for 10-12 repetitions.

4. The Hamstring Stretch

Your hamstrings, like your hip flexors, become tight after sitting for long periods of time. Thus, you should stretch them out. To perform a hamstring stretch:

  • Sit on the edge of a stable chair.

  • Extend one leg straight in front of you, planting the heel on the floor.

  • Bend at the waist and lean down toward your extended leg.

  • Hold for 20-30 seconds, and then, repeat on the opposite side.

5. The Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis can become problematic. If this muscle gets too tight, it may compress the sciatic nerve. As a result, you may experience nerve pain and sensations in your buttocks and down your leg. Again, stretching can ease these problems. Here’s how to stretch out this tiny but finicky muscle:

  • Lie back on a comfortable surface, such as a mat.

  • Bend your knees and plant your feet flat.

  • Cross your right foot over the top of your left thigh.

  • If the stretch feels good here, hold it for 20-30 seconds.

  • If you want a little more, pull your left thigh toward you using both hands, then hold

Prevent pain before it happens. If you work a desk job, move a little more. Your body needs it!