5 Stretches you need if you sit down all day

When I get somebody through the door in my gym. So often their lower back is killing them. 

Lower back pain has almost become a universal trait among humans with up to ⅓ of people suffering from pain at any given time.

Sitting has gotten an awful reputation lately as the cause of all our ills. From the pain in your back to diabetes, some people put your chair in the same category as smoking

But all debates aside, sitting does undeniably add tension that can stiffen up areas of the body.

Sitting also has a detrimental effects on the core. When the core isn't stabilizing the spine effectively it can put the lower back at extra risk.

This combination of muscles tightening and the core not supporting the spine can exacerbate lower back symptoms.

 

Overworked Muscles

Two areas in particular tend to take the brunt when you sit down. The area around the hips and the upper back.

The Hip.

I won’t bore you the major details but one of the main muscles around the hip is the hip flexor. This is the muscle that raise your leg 90 degrees or further for you flexible folk.

Hip Flexor.jpg

 

Desk jockeys end up spending most of their time in this sort of position. Prolonged sitting leaves these muscles chronically overworked can making them feel stiff and tight. 

From the anatomy picture you can see that the hip actually attaches on to the lower back. So when it feels cranky, it can work up the chain and create stiffness in the lower back too.

 

Upper Back.

The upper back, also called your thoracic spine is another area that becomes stiff and tight from prolonged sitting. 

This is because so much time is spent sitting in this position. 

adult-brick-wall-bricks-450276.jpg

 

Sitting all day in front of screens. This slumped over posture creates tension in the upper back area and neck.


In a slumped over position, these areas become stiff and immobile.

This stiffness in the upper back can make the lower back work harder because it must compensate from the lack of movement up the chain.

This creates even more of a problem for the upper back.

 

5 Stretches you need if you sit down all day
 

Here are five stretches you can perform everyday to help release the muscles in the hip and upper spine.

1) Pigeon Pose:

This exercise stretches the back of the hip, while the back leg stretches the front of the hip.

How to perform the pigeon

  1. Place one leg in front 90 degrees
  2. Keeping the movement isolated to the hip
  3. Begin to sit back into the hip.

Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds while taking deep breaths.

 

2) Hip Flexor Stretch

Everyday you’ll hear people who have been to the physio and been told they have “tight” hips. Its true that the hip flexors can become overworked and feel stiff after sitting down all day.

You should feel the following stretch in the front of that thigh area.

How to perform the hip flexor stretch:

  1. Place yourself with one leg 90 degrees on a raised surface.
  2. Keep the other leg aligned underneath the shoulder
  3. To create a greater stretch, squeeze the butt on the leg with the knee down.
  4. You can also drive your knee into the floor to add some extra stretch on the hip while working the hamstring

Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds while taking deep breaths.

 

3) Cat camel.

Because we spend so much time sitting, we can lose the awareness / proper control of our muscles.

The cat camel helps regain some control in the spine while also helping to lubricate the stiff spine after sitting for prolonged periods.

How to Perform the Cat Camel

  1. Start on fours with knees and arms on the floor.
  2. Imagine a string at the bottom of your spine
  3. Imagine that string at the very bottom of your spine.
  4. Imagine that string pulling one vertebrae up at a time all the way until you reach the neck.
  5. Once you reach the neck, begin to reverse the movement in the exact opposite way.

The cat camel is a fantastic way to let the lower back fully move without any excess strain.

Perform 20-30 reps after prolonged sitting.

 

4) Cobra Stretch

The cobra stretch is a fantastic stretch for reversing the hunched over posture the majority of people spend their waking lives..

The goal is not to hold the stretch for a prolonged period of time, but rather increase blood flow and lubricate the lower back.

How to perform the cobra stretch

  1. Starting lying on the ground with arms by your side.
  2. Proceed to lengthen the arms, raising the shoulder chest and stomach off the floor
  3. Just raise until arms are fully extended
  4. Once you feel the stretch, pause, take a deep breath and return to the starting position.

Perform 30-50 reps taking a deep breath at the top and lowering back down.

 

5) Yoga Plex

The yoga plex is a fantastic all round stretch that targets the hip on both sides, while also opening the upper back with the rotation. 

You also get some core activation in the push up position as your core needs to hold the lower back in position.

How to Perform the Yoga Plex

  1. Start in a push up position.
  2. Bring the right leg outside of the arm.
  3. Keep the heel down on this leg
  4. straighten the other leg by squeezing the bum
  5. Push the elbow against your knee on your right arm to stretch your groin
  6. Begin to rotate from the upper back.
  7. Finish off by lowering the arm back down and bringing the legs back to your push up position.

Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds while taking deep breaths.

 

Wrapping up

Every back injury will be unique so make sure you get checked out by your physio if you currently have an injury.

However sitting down for prolonged periods of time affects every-bodies muscles in a similar way.

These five stretches can help alleviate some of that stiffness from sitting all day..

Those 5 stretches

Are:

  1. Pigeon Pose

  2. Correct Hip Flexor Stretch

  3. Cat Camel

  4. Cobra stretch

  5. Upper Back Stretch

If you have any other issues regarding your fitness especially nutrition and diet. Don't hesitate to reach out and I will get back to you.