Loudoun County, Va. — If you are someone who works long hours, or spends a lot of time watching Netflix or looking down at your phone, you may feel tight and stiff after a long day. You are not alone! You’re also not alone if you don’t have the energy to do a whole workout after a long work day. With this in mind, here are some simple stretches most people will benefit from doing while on the couch after a long day!
Seated on your couch (or favorite chair). Reach both arms behind your back and clasp your palms together. Squeeze shoulder blades back and down as much as you can, until you feel a stretch in the front of your chest. Don’t shrug your shoulders! Keep them down away from your ears. Hold 20-30 seconds.
Sit at the edge of the couch so that you can stretch one leg out in front of you. Slowly reach forward over the extended leg and hold the stretch 20-30 seconds. Don’t bend your knee! Make sure your knee is very straight. Also, you want to keep your spine long. Don’t round your back too much, lean forward from the hip.
Hip rotator stretch
While sitting with feet on the floor take one leg and bring the ankle on top of the opposite knee. Push the knee of the leg that is crossed over down until you feel a stretch in your hip. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
Upper trap stretch
Sit tall with good posture. While keeping your nose pointed straight ahead, tilt your head bringing your ear closer to the shoulder on that side. You will feel a stretch on the opposite side of the neck that you’re tilting towards. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Don’t turn your head! Keep your face forward. Turning your head will stretch different muscles. It is not necessarily bad, just not targeting the muscle that is most commonly tight, the upper trap.
These stretches are an easy way to get a little more mobility in your day. Stretching is helpful to maintain or improve joint mobility and to decrease risk of injury when you’re active. Especially if you are doing exercise and usually sit all day it is important to stretch to ensure that the muscles are working optimally despite being sedentary most of the day.
If you are having sharp pain or pain in the joint that is deep and achy these stretches may not be for you. Please follow up with a physical therapist if you notice pain doing these stretches; it can mean that you might have some joint pain or dysfunction but an evaluation is the best way to know for sure.
Stretching lower and upper body muscles everyday is ideal to maintain and/or progress your flexibility. The stretches above can be done 1-2 times per day, especially if the muscle is very tight.
Note from our sponsor: Again, if you have pain or are concerned with causing injury reach out to us for a physical therapy evaluation. Call us today at 703-450-4300 for help starting your stretching program!