So as promised, following my last article “Sitting posture and (D)evolution of man”, here are a few stretches that you can do at your office or home to help loosen up those stiff muscles affected by poor sitting posture.
Please note that these are general stretches for people without neck or lower back pain. If you are already suffering from pain, you should rather consult your physio before attempting any of these stretches.
You want to imagine that you are trying to make the back of your neck get longer (as if someone is pulling you up by your hair), whilst still looking forwards. If you are tight, you may feel a stretch at the base of your skull. Hold 10 seconds and repeat 10 times
If done correctly, you should feel the whole back of your neck getting stretched. Hold 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
3) Seated rotations- Whilst sitting, turn to your right. Use your right arm to grab the back of the chair. Place your left hand on your right knee and then gently pull. Hold 30 seconds and repeat to the other side
4) Seated back extensions- Interlock your fingers behind your head. With your elbows pointing upwards, towards the ceiling, extend your upper back and try push your elbows further back. Hold 30 seconds and repeat 5 times.
Whilst sitting, grab the seat of the chair with your left hand (this stops your left shoulder from lifting up). Bend your neck to the right side as shown, and using your right hand, gently assist the stretch to the right.
You should feel a stretch down the left side of your neck. Repeat to the other side, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
NB-If you feel pain on the right hand side whilst bending to the right, then please STOP, and consult your physio.
As shown, stand facing a corner and place your elbows at about 90 degrees, forearms resting against the wall. Then step forward with one leg and allow your chest to fall in, towards the corner. You should feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder and into your chest. Hold 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
You should start by lying on your stomach with your arms at your sides. Gently push up onto your elbows at first, and allow your lower back to completely relax. Repeat 8-10 times.
As the stretch improves, you might be able to lock your elbows out as shown in the picture, but do this slowly as sudden extension may cause some pain.
This stretch also targets your hip flexors (front hip muscles) which get shortened over time by sitting.
NB-If you have pain referring down your leg/s or into your bum then please stop and see your physio
So there you have it, a few stretches to get you going and hopefully reverse some of your poor posture. You should try aim to do these stretches at least once a day (even if its not all of them at once) and the more often you do them, the less painful and more flexible you will become.
BY: Riccardo Vaccaro
Back injuries, Lower Limb injuries, Neck injuries