Stretches to Stop Slouching

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A person on a laptop computer
By Bella Baragouin

A BuffDuck Board Contributor

During this time of quarantine, there is no doubt that we are spending a lot of time sitting. I am guilty myself watching a bunch of videos and browsing social media for hours on hours. But even before the pandemic, the average person spent a lot of their day either sitting behind a desk, driving a car, or at home watching television and browsing social media. With all this extra sitting we are doing now, we need to stay alert while seated because our posture can cause strain on our bodies; especially when we are sitting idle at a desk for long periods of time, on a couch, or even while sleeping. It is easy to lose track of time while sitting at the computer. I know I need to consciously remind myself to take time out of my work day to stretch after working on the computer for long periods of time.

By taking a small break, you can increase the blood flow to your muscles which will increase energy and give your muscles a break from being still in a chair for so long. By just taking a few minutes out of your day to stand and move, you interrupt a cycle of inactivity that can lead to future health complications.

According to a study on the US National Library of Medicine website, 80% people using computers for more than 4 hours complain of back pain.

I know as I have become more aware of my posture, I catch myself as I slowly “relax” into a slouch that may feel more comfortable at the moment, but can have serious health problems in the future. Jon Cinkaya, a physical therapist and exercise physiologist in the HSS Rehabilitation Department explains how after 15 minutes of sitting or standing in the same place, most people start to slouch. You may be slouching without even realizing it!

Not only does slouching cause back pain, it increases abdominal pressure, which puts pressure on the bladder and causes pelvic floor issues. Furthermore, slouching can force stomach acid in the wrong direction resulting in heartburn and slowed digestion. It is important to be aware of these bad posture habits and correct them as soon as possible.

Okay enough of all the negatives, here are some stretches that can help fix your posture and relieve your muscles!

Double Knees to Chest

Double Knee to Chest stretch

Image courtesy of Northern Arizona University

  • Start by getting on your back with your feet on the floor
  • Bring one knee up and then the other. Gently pull on your kneecap area of both legs
    towards your chest. You should feel a mild stretch in lower back
  • Hold for 5-15 seconds and repeat 3-5 times

Calf Stretch (Personal Favorite)

Standing Calf Stretch diagram
  • Start by facing a wall and placing one leg forward with your knee slightly bent. Lean into the wall and place the leg to be stretched back while maintaining a straight knee. Make sure your toes are facing the wall
  • Slowly lean forward into the wall towards the front leg and stretch the calf (back of lower leg). (When the back knee is bent from a stretched position the stretch will be felt lower in the calf, more in the Achilles tendon). Repeat for both legs
  • Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, repeat 3-5 times for each leg

Cat/Camel Stretch

Cat/Camel Stretch Diagram
  • Place your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips; engage your stomach muscles; look between your hands and lift back the back of your head toward the ceiling
  • From the neutral position, slowly round your spine, hold for 15 seconds, then slowly drop your spine (belly button) towards the floor (as shown in picture)
  • Hold the position for 5-15 seconds, repeat 3-5 times and finish with your spine in neutral position

What is the Point of Stretching?

Stretching is a vital routine of any person. A Harvard Health Letter explains how without stretching, a person is prone to joint pain, strains, and muscle damage, especially during times of physical exertion. 

Start by trying these stretches throughout the day. Before attempting any of these stretches, we recommend speaking with your certified doctor or physical therapist. If you would like more stretches to perform, you can visit this PDF from UC Berkeley where all the stretches in this article were sourced from.

I do not know about you guys but since the start quarantine I have developed a little bit of a belly! I blame all this work I am doing in front of the computer. If you also seem to have gained a few pounds, check out this article I wrote about losing weight without having to starve yourself.

Bella Baragouin is a writer for the BuffDuck Board and has been writing written pieces for over four years.

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