8 Simple Stretches to Undo the Pain of Working From Home
Working from home may not seem drastically different than sitting in an office, but it is. By not walking to our car or transit, popping into a co-worker’s office, running out for lunch, or using the bathroom far away, we’re getting a lot less movement than we were before. That lack of movement can lead to soreness during the work day.
“Adding in just a five-minute stretch break every hour can help your body feel less discomfort throughout the day,” says Openfit Live Trainer and Certified Yoga Instructor Jennifer Fuller.
Here are eight stretches to help you unwind and open up. They can be done any time, without any special equipment.
1. Seated Spinal Twist
Take a moment to twist away your upper-body tension with this simple move, which stretches your body from hips to neck. The gentle twist also feels nice after lunch.
- Sitting cross-legged with a tall spine, place your right hand on your left knee, resting your left hand behind you.
- Relax your shoulders and stomach, then look over your left shoulder to stretch your neck.
- Hold for several breaths, then unwind, face forward, and repeat on the other side.
2. Seated Figure 4
There’s no need to get up from your desk for this hip opener, one of Andrea Rogers’ top stretches! It targets the muscles that tighten up from sitting — without leaving your chair.
- Sitting in a chair with your feet hip-distance apart and your back straight, place the outside of your right ankle on top of your left knee.
- Focus on keeping your right leg parallel to the floor and both of your glutes in the chair.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side.
Hunching over a computer contracts your chest; this yoga pose opens it back up. It also opens your shoulders and promotes good posture by strengthening the spine.
- Lie on your belly with your legs straight, and place your hands under your shoulders.
- Pressing into your palms, lift your chest off the floor with your arms and back.
- Stretch with your chest forward and up, hold for several breaths, then release.
4. Chest Opener
This simple stretch is good for those with extra-tight chest muscles, allowing you to breathe deeper and more fully. It’ll also help your shoulders release tension.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart without locking your knees. (You can also do this from a seated position.)
- Reach both arms behind your back and clasp your hands together.
- Gently drive your shoulders back and draw your shoulder blades together with your arms down to open up your chest.
- You should feel the stretch running from shoulder to shoulder across your chest. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
5. Frog Pose
Sitting shortens your hip flexors, so this hip opening stretch is an excellent way to offset time at your desk. It also gives a nice stretch to your inner thighs.
- Start on all fours, then walk your knees out to the sides as you keep your feet flexed and your ankles right behind your knees.
- Let gravity allow your pelvis to sink, stretching through your inner thighs.
- To come out of the pose, gently rock your hips forward, walk your knees in, and press from your palms back up to the starting position.
6. Little Bear Claw
Perfect for computer-cramped fingers, this stretch also strengthens your fingers for keyboard-heavy days. Hand stretches are a great way to pass the time during long conference calls.
- Hold your hand up, flatten your palm, and bend the tips of your fingers and thumb down to touch their bases.
- Open and close your fingers like this 10 times.
7. Hip Circles
Increase your range of motion after a day of sitting with this dynamic (and fun!) movement. Make it part of your warm-up or do it on its own.
- Place your hands on your hips while standing with your feet hip-distance apart.
- Slowly push your hips in a circle: to the right, back, left, and forward.
- Repeat several times, then change directions.
8. 3-Way Back Stretch
This instinctive morning stretch opens the entire upper body, and it feels so good. Do it any time of day — not just when you wake up.
- Extend your arms up while standing with your feet hip-width apart (or sitting on the edge of your bed).
- Lace your fingers together and flip your palms toward the ceiling.
- Hold, then bring your arms forward and hold with your arms in front of your chest.
Try our new XB Stretch program, with routines that take just 5 to 15 minutes. Designed by Andrea Rogers (creator of our other XB programs), XB Stretch is a quick and easy way to help prevent injury, combat aches and pains, reduce stress, and just feel good!