5 Simple Stretches for Better Posture and Less Pain

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I've blogged a lot about the downsides of sitting at work (or school) for hours a day. It can be a real pain in the neck—and back! But just because you sit doesn't mean you're doomed to suffer. The keys to combat the effects of sitting are to be aware of how you're sitting and take steps (literally!) to get up and moving as much as possible throughout your day.
For those of you who spend a lot of time in a seated position, there are a few posture-enhancing stretches I recommend that you do several times a day. These simple moves will help you focus on sitting tall and with proper alignment and help prevent pain and stiffness associated with being a desk jockey.

Try these easy stretches at least once or twice per hour. Each time you do them, use that as a reminder to sit tall with your shoulders back and your abs engaged, too. If you can, set a simple reminder on your phone or computer for multiple posture checks each day.
Do you have a sedentary job? How do you try to counter its effects: sitting tall, stretching, or something else?

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i think i've read this article before Report
Great article thanks for the wonderful tips! Report
Thank you for this great info! Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
Felt pretty good after a medium workout. Report
Very good reminder - thank you! Report
Simple and effective! Report
simple & effective! Report
I have been doing some of these stretches for a very long time. My Speech Language Pathologist (aka: Speech Therapist) who I have been seeing for a few months in an attempt to get my voice back, also gave me a sheet of exercises to do that is titled, 'Relaxation Exercises' & it includes several of Coach Nicole's stretching exercises. Regardless of what they are, they definitely do work. Now all I need are some exercises to strengthen my arms & legs.
PS: Does the first video not work? Report
Thanks Nicole this is a very common hazard and your exercises and advice are very good. They are practical so i'm adjusting my lifestyle to include them. Report
Dahlea - thanks for reminding us also how important it is to breathe deeply. I recommend stopping at least once an hour and just breathe deeply for one minute. You'd be surprised at how much of a difference this makes.
And Kat573 - when you're on your feet all day it's important to stretch your hamstrings so whenever you have a minute, place one foot up on a chair or shelf near your register, bring the other leg back as far as you can and lean forward. Make sure that your bent knee stays above your ankle and doesn't travel out over your toes. When you do this feel the stretch all along the back of your leg. Repeat on the other side. Also do these when you get your breaks. It will keep your legs from cramping up. Report
Could you please use someone that is a little longer in the tooth and a little more skin...maybe a lot of skin... on the bones to show us how to do these exercises? For a site that is for those of use who do not weigh 99 pounds, you never have anyone built like us doing anything on here? How are we supposed to imagine ourselves doing this..when we see a young, strong, healthy, no handicaps, skinny, physically fit person doing this..none of which 99.9% of us aren't!!!! Report
I can no longer work because of cancer, and my mobility is limited. I am going to try these stretches though, I think they will be good for me. Report
I tried it and it really does work. Report
These are all really good stretches. Another one I really like is to walk around behind your chair, bend from the hips and place your hands on the back of the chair so your upper body is 90 degrees from your legs (jackknife position) and push your tailbone away. This is a great stretch for your back. if your chair is on wheels, use your desk so it doesn't move away from you. Report
Thank you! I'll definitely try these.
I spend a lot of time sitting during the day. I try to compensate by using a 'backstretcher', a wooden arc one can lie down on, for a few minutes per day. Report
These are perfect for me. I sit most of the day at the computer and try to get up often. These stretches will definitely help. Thanks. Report
I have a job where I am on my feet, with little movement, often on concrete for 4-5 hours at a time. I have learned that a couple of minutes of stretching is key to my comfort throughout the day. It also acts as a time where I can relax and breath deeply. Report
I appreciate these ideas. Even just sitting at home at the computer for a couple hours and you need to be stretching. Thank you! Report
Thanks for this, but how do you compensate if you have a rotary cuff injury. Report
Very helpful!! Report
Very helpful. These stretches also help me to relax when something has me stressed out. Thanks! Report
What do you suggest for very active jobs, where you stand and move and also bear weights etc such as cashier? Thanks! Report
Very helpful!! Report
I recently started fostering cats and kittens for the local shelter, so they help me throughout my work day with getting up and not being sedentary at my desk all day, since I work from home when I am not traveling. When I am traveling though, I do make it a point to sit tall in my chair (even on plane flights, stretching my hands up to reach the overhead console) and completing periodic stretches of my neck, shoulders, back and lower legs. Report
Thanks for the easy stretches. I'm at a desk all day and really need to do those often. Report
Thanks for this exercise. Report
Very good reminder - thank you!
Thanks for the information. Report
Thank you, for the information Coach Nicole I will use it for sure. Report
Thank you, for the information Coach Nicole I will use it for sure. Report
Thank you! There can never be too many posture reminders. My desk at work faced a blank wall which, had I ever thought about it, could have been a great place to post reminders of exercises AND stretches I could have been doing even while sitting! Report
Thank you! Report
Thank you, Coach Nicole. I feel better! Report