Back pain is a common yet serious issue that's associated with prolonged periods of sitting. It can be alleviated by standing up every now and then during breaks, assuming a good posture and doing some exercises designed to stretch your back.
Not all back-centric exercises are appropriate to do at the workplace, or in front of your desk though. But the good news is that there's a variety of movements you can do to prevent your back from being sore from sitting too long.
Here are 5 quick work day stretches for your back.
You probably already know how to do this exercise because you may have crossed your legs at one point in your life. It's easy and you can do it with minimal disturbance and just sitting down a few feet away from your desk.
The first thing you want to do is assume an upright position and with your feet firmly planted to the ground. Bring one leg up and over the other to hold a figure four position, then put your hands on the shin area. Hold this pose for around 10 to 15 seconds, then change legs.
The figure four stretches your hip's external rotators and the glutes. Once you're acclimated you can do a modified version and lean a bit forward and feel the burn.
Your neck and jaw can tighten up over the course of a day, and your back gets affected if this goes on for too long.
The side neck stretch is another easy exercise and opens up several muscles, including the front deltoids and neck. To start, assume an upright sitting position, then slowly lower your right ear to your shoulder while having your left hand placed on your back. You can add pressure by supporting your head with your right hand as it goes to your shoulders. Hold the pose for around 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat with your left ear.
This movement requires you to drop on the ground, so you better have a yoga mat or something similar ready.
Although the name sounds scary, it's actually a gentle exercise. You start by lying down on your stomach and with your arms laid out naturally on the side. Your hand should be placed down on the ground, as if you're in the act of worship.
Then, you use your lower back, thighs and buttocks to lift your chest and head up from the floor. Hold this position for about 30 seconds to a whole minute. Lower yourself to the original position and do it again for about 5 to 10 times.
The knee to chest stretch is a great, all-around movement for both men and women alike. Make sure to incorporate this into your daily routine and lifestyle so you can get maximum benefits.
To start, you should lie down with your back on the floor and with your knees bent at an angle. Extend your right knee down while drawing the left knee to your chest. For added support and to really get the stretch going, clasp your hands around the left knee and at the shinbone.
What's important is you not lifting your hips as you complete the movement. You don't have to have the knee touch your chest- just bring it as close as possible, then hold the position for around 30 seconds to a full minute. Also, make sure to breathe deeply.
Do the same with the other leg and repeat for around 5 to 10 times. This exercise is good for the glutes, thighs, hips and back.
The child's pose exercise can be completed while wearing any comfortable clothes, from shirts to underwear and everything in-between.
The first thing to do is to get on your knees and hands on the floor. Then, slowly sink into the ground with your hips resting on your heels. Your stomach should be at the thigh area and your arms should be extended in front of you as well.
While near the ground, hold the position for a minute and make sure to breathe in deeply and relax muscles that feel tight. Do this several times or until you feel the tension in your back fade away. Since this is one of the easiest Yoga Asana inspired poses, you can convince your partner to do this in her or his boxer shorts on a chilly morning!
Written by: Zoe Fernandes