We spend most of our days sitting down so wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to improve posture while doing it. Surprisingly, it is not as hard as you think. There are four stretches that you can do which you would barely notice while sitting at a desk and thus not affect work. There are also others that you may want to include while at your desk but not when typing. Give them a try and let me know how you get on.

For each of the following stretches you can check out the video on my website. As you are doing these while working the stretch should be very gentle and held for a longer period of time. This will most likely feel much less than how you perceive a typical stretch, but by doing it lighter yet for longer you will not affect your work productivity yet still get benefits. This could be 5 to 10 minutes per stretch. If you are using a more forceful stretch then I would swap positions every 1-2 minutes. Look to rotate through the poses during the day and focus especially on stretches that make you feel good / help your posture.

Hip Internal Rotation Stretch – Most people sit in hip external rotation resulting in us losing our abilities to rotate the hips inwards (bringing your knees into the middle). To do this position simply ensure your feet are outside of the knees. Make sure you don’t annoy your knees by turning them in too much.

Thigh & Hip Flexor Stretch – The thighs really take the brunt of prolonged sitting yet you can easily stretch them by simply coming to the edge of your chair and putting your leg out behind you. 
Calf Stretch – Most people sit with their ankles and calves in a very shortened position. A simple way around this is using some sort of block to raise your toes to hang your foot off to create a stretch. If you cannot find a block then you can do an alternative from the edge of your chair but this will disrupt your ability to type. Both of these are technically stretching the soleus and toe muscles over the actual ‘calf’ (gastrocnemius) but your squat depth, therefore functional movement ability, is directly correlated with the bent leg ankle flexibility these work upon.
Sphinx Stomach Stretch – Sitting down means that you are curled up all day and this chronically shortens your stomach area and muscles around the rib cage. This leads to a rounded posture and can even change your breathing patterns. This stretch works by adopting a subtle change in your seated position to stretch your front line while you work. Simply move your upper body into an arched spine position so that you feel it stretch your stomach area.
Glute Stretch – This requires you to stop working for a few seconds but it is beneficial as most people find glutes, especially one side over the other, gets stiff from prolonged sitting. This stretch can really add to your flexibility. I have also shown a picture of stretching your hip into external rotation, which many people count as a glute stretch. This can be beneficial if you are particularly stiff in this motion but as mentioned previously most need to work on internal rotation over external.
Arm & Chest Stretch – You will need to take a quick break from work but this can really help the shoulder area. Using an exercise band, or jumper, there are 3 versions of this stretch. The band can be taken into a high or low position with the low position having your hands turned outwards or inwards as shown in the photos. 

Not Included Stretches – I haven’t put in any hamstring stretches which are very easy to do from a seated position. I did this as most people need to focus on the previous stretches before these. However, if you do need to focus on this, then I included them in a previous video on office chair stretching here>>

What Does This Mean For You?

If you are like almost everyone else and spend a long period of time sitting then look to implement some of these into your sitting environment.

Photo –  A picture of the main different stretches.

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