Do you suffer from chronic stiffness, aches, and pains? Studies have shown that prolonged sitting at a desk or computer terminal can cause muscular tension and pain. But, by taking a few minutes over the course of your day to do some quick and easy stretches, you can reduce muscular tension, improve your posture, and reduce your risk of developing repetitive strain injuries.

Important Tips for Stretching

Be sure to move into each stretch slowly and stop when you feel slight tension and not pain. Unless otherwise noted below, hold your stretch for at least 10 seconds; about 30 seconds is ideal. As you hold your stretch, the feeling of tension should diminish. If it doesn’t, ease off slightly.

To take your stretch one step further, move a fraction of an inch deeper until you feel mild tension again. Hold for an additional 10 to 30 seconds. If at any time the tension increases or becomes painful, you are overstretching – ease off. Your breathing should be slow, deep, and rhythmic.

Now that you’ve got all the tips, here are 7 simple yet effective stretches you can do right now; and in just a few minutes you’ll be feeling looser and lighter.

1. Wrist Stretch 1 – Extensors

The following two wrist stretches are perfect for office workers, sport players and those who put repeated strain on their wrists.

Extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing down. Slowly flex your wrist in a downward position and hold with the opposite hand. Apply mild tension with your other hand.

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2. Wrist Stretch 2 – Flexors

Extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing up. Slowly extend your wrist in a downward position and hold with the opposite hand. Add some mild tension and hold.

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3. Upper Back and Neck Tension Release

Do this stretch at the first signs of tightness, tension, or stress.

Shrug your shoulders up towards your ears until you feel slight tension. Hold for 5 seconds, then immediately relax your shoulders down into their normal position. Repeat as needed.

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4. Neck Stretch 1 – Extensors

This stretch is excellent for reducing neck tension and related headaches.

Place both hands on the back of your head. Gently tilt/pull your head forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your neck.

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5. Neck Stretch 2 – Flexors

You’ll want to do this stretch to increase your range of motion and reduce facial tension.

Gently tilt your head backwards, being careful not to ‘drop’ your head back. Place your hand on your chin and apply gentle pressure to intensify the stretch if desired.

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6. Upper Back, Shoulder and Arm Stretch

This stretch is great for improving your posture and wrist and shoulder flexibility.

Interlace fingers then move palms upwards towards the ceiling as you straighten your arms. Think about elongating your arms and pushing them as far back (behind you) as possible.

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7. Hip, Glute and Lower Back Stretch

Effective at reducing lower- back pain due to tightness.

Sitting on your chair, cross one leg over the other. Apply gentle pressure on the knee of your top leg. Lean slightly forward from the hip. Repeat with the other leg on top. Increases range of motion and circulation in the hips and lower-back.

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Feeling Better and Fitter

By doing these stretches daily, you will decrease tension and stiffness, improve your posture, and even improve your mood! In addition to stretching, try to take short breaks throughout your day to get up and walk around – especially if you work on a computer. If you’d like to use our downloadable stretching guide, click here.

Looking for more personalized fitness and health guidance? Nielsen Fitness personal trainers customize workouts for you, including any chronic issues or pains you may be suffering from, and will work with you to help you feel like the best version of yourself. Get in touch with us to learn how you can get feeling better and fitter today.