We all know sitting all day is not good for our health - it can contribute to poor circulation, increased stress on our lumbar and cervical spine and shorten the muscles in our chest and hips. The result is sore muscles in the back, neck and shoulders. These 5 exercises are simple and can be done at home or at work.
5 Seated exercises to relieve stress
Cat & Cow (Spinal Stretch):
Place your hands on your knees and sit tall. Find a slight arch and exhale as you lower toward your thighs. As you inhale, roll the spine up to come back to a tall seat. Repeat breath cycle 5 – 10 times.
Move forward to sit near the edge of your chair. Sit with your knees slightly wider than your hips. Breathe in, growing tall, and place your left hand on your right knee. As you exhale, twist to the right, placing your right hand on the seat behind you (if that range of motion is available). Keep your torso long as you look past your right shoulder. Hold for 3 – 5 breaths, and return to center. Repeat on the other side.
Reach your right arm above your head, bend your elbow to bring your palm on your upper back between the shoulder blades. Reach your left arm behind your back palm facing out. Draw your left hand up to meet the right hand. If your hands don’t touch that is fine you can use a towel or grasp your shirt. Lengthen through the spine and relax your face and neck for 5 – 10 breaths. Release slowly and repeat on the other side.
Place your right foot on the floor directly under your right knee. Place your left ankle over your right knee, and flex your foot. Inhale as you lengthen through your lower back, and exhale leaning forward slightly towards your legs. Continue to relax your shoulders and breathe deeply for 5 -10 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
Three Part Breath:
Close your eyes or find a soft gaze. As you inhale, fill your body with breath beginning at your lower belly (1), then expanding through your ribs (2), and finally your chest (3). Pause at the top of your inhale. Exhale slowly, emptying in reverse (3, 2, 1.) Pause at the bottom of your exhale. Repeat for 10 breaths.
By setting aside a few minutes during your day to take some deep breaths, clear your mind, and stretch your tight muscles you will increase circulation, decrease muscle tension and increase your flexibility leaving you with an overall feeling of well-being.