5 Exercises To Do After Sitting All Day That'll Loosen Your Body Up A Little
As much as it would suck to have to stand all day long at work or school, chairs are kind of the worst thing ever. Sitting all day makes your body feel stiff and tense AF, and honestly, by the time you get home, there are knots in places you didn't even know could hold tension. If you know this struggle all too well, you definitely need to find some exercises to do after sitting all day that'll help loosen your body up and undo the damage of being parked on your butt for hours on end.
In 2014, the Washington Post published an extensive list of freaky, health-related consequences you can suffer as a result of sitting all day, some of which included heart disease, poor circulation throughout the body, foggy and impaired brain function, muscle degeneration, and even an increased risk of dying in some cases.
As if that's not jarring enough on its own to think about, consider how much more sitting we're all about to do with the holidays coming up: sitting in traffic on our way home to see our families, sitting on the couch to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, sitting on our butts to digest after we feast on Thanksgiving. Seriously, it's a little concerning when you think about it.
Unfortunately, you probably can't quit your desk job, nor can you stand up throughout an entire three-hour lecture in college, and I think it's equally safe to assume you can't use the "mortality of sitting" excuse to get out of seeing your family this holiday season.
Fortunately, though, you can challenge yourself to do a few of these simples stretches and gentle exercises each day to undo the damage of all the sitting you'll inevitably be doing.
1. Leg Swings
Dynamic stretches are incredible for increasing blood flow and warming up your muscles — both of which are much-needed after your booty has been planted in a chair for hours at a time.
This gentle movement will loosen up your hamstrings, hips, and glutes, because you know all of these areas are screaming for some TLC after being given the cold shoulder (or the... cold, metal chair, I guess?).
Be sure to hold onto something for balance here (maybe even the chair that made you do this exercise in the first place), and repeat as many times as necessary to open and warm up your lower body.
2. Twisted Lunge
This may seem like a pretty simple stretch, but it'll actually build a lot of strength in both your legs and your shoulders.
Twists help to detoxify the body of any toxins it's holding onto, and the low lunge movement here will provide a pleasant and juicy stretch to your hip flexors.
TBH, whenever I do this stretch after sitting for a while, my body cracks in like, 17 different places — in the best way possible.
As you inhale, stack your shoulders and lengthen your spine. As you exhale, try sinking a bit deeper into the twist.
3. Sphinx Pose
Sphinx pose is a relieving stretch that's commonly practiced in yoga. It's a super gentle backbend that will definitely help to undo all of that hunching over a computer screen.
You can practice this either actively — by engaging your forearms and shoulders — or passively, by simply relaxing all your muscles and allowing your spine to do its thing.
Notice the subtle opening and release of your chest and shoulders in this pose, and try closing your eyes to really enjoy the full effect of all the benefits associated with this stretch.
4. Glute Bridge
Glute bridges are a great mix between an exercise and a stretch, as they strengthen your booty and hips while simultaneously stretching your lower back and sacrum, too.
Performing this exercise will feel particularly amazing when done immediately after a long day of sitting, because it's literally the exact opposite movement of what your body was just doing for several hours.
The stretch in your back will reverse all the hunching over that you're doing in a chair, and the glute strengthening will prevent the dreaded "dead butt syndrome" that can come from prolonged sedentary periods.
5. Figure Four Stretch
TBH, Shakira was on point when she said your hips don't lie. If those babies could talk, they would be screaming for you to do this stretch after sitting all day long.
Figure four stretch will help eliminate the tension taking up residence in your hip flexors and lower back. Seriously, sometimes I feel like I could stay in this pose forever because of how freaking good it feels. Break this bad boy out any time you have one of those dull aches in your lower back from sitting down for too long.
Personally, I'll be dropping down to the floor and stretching it out immediately when I get to my uncle's house after the unholy amount of Thanksgiving traffic I'm inevitably going to hit.
Will I be judged? Maybe. Will it be worth it? You bet.