Have you ever caught yourself hunching over your desk? If you’re anything like me, it happens multiple times per day. One thing I know I’m sitting down to work, next thing I’m completely rounded forward with my face almost parallel to the desk.
In today’s digital age, it’s easy to allow your posture to slip if you’re not mindful. We spend so much time hunched over phones and computers, not to mention sitting in chairs all day, and this has an effect on our postures! The human body was not designed to sit in chairs for an extended period of time; getting and moving during the day is incredibly important! If you do need to sit a lot for work, the good news is that there are a few stretches you can use to counteract a desk posture! Try to do each of the following stretches at least once per day. (Although even a little bit helps—if you can’t do these every day, do them as much as you can!)
Lizard pose. This yoga pose is one of my favorites for giving the legs some love! It stretches the IT band as well as the hip flexors, both of which become shortened when sitting for an extended period of time.
To enter this pose, begin in a high plank or a downward dog. Lift the right leg and bring to the outside of both your hands. Lower down onto the back knee. Hold for 30-45 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Supine hamstring stretch. The hamstrings tend to be a chronically tight area of the body for most of us. There are many different hamstring stretches, but the supine (on your back) stretch is my favorite because it places the least amount of tension on the lower back.
Lie down on your back with your legs stretched long. Lift one leg and grab behind the thigh, shin, or ankle (make sure to avoid directly grabbing your knee!) You can bend your knee as much as you’d like as long as you’re still feeling that stretch in the back of the thigh. Straightening the leg will make the stretch more intense, but ensure that you always keep a microbend in the knee (we never want to lock the joints!) Hold for 30-45 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Supine twist. One of my favorite yoga postures ever! This twist is amazing for lengthening out the spine.
You’ll begin flat on your back with your arms T-ed out of the side. Hug one or both knees into your chest and rotate your torso while stacking your hips until you’re facing one side. Look over your opposite shoulder, if it’s comfortable for the neck. Hold for 30-45 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Chin tucks. This movement is super subtle, but it’s incredible for the neck.
You can perform this movement whenever you notice your neck jutted forward. When this happens, move the head back (like you’re giving yourself a double chin) until the neck is in line with the head. Perform 5-10 of these at a time. I used to leave a post-it note at my desk and every time I looked at the post-it note and noticed that I had poor posture, I would do 5 of these. Trust me, they really help!
I hope these stretches were helpful! If you’d like to further protect yourself from desk posture, I also recommend foam rolling!
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Photo: Maire O’Donnell