With work-from-home arrangements now a default setting for most, it is important to ensure regular upkeep with our physical and mental wellbeing. One of the easiest ways is to treat your body to some easy full-body stretches.
These exercises not only help promote blood circulation but also provide convenient forms of light exercise to engage in. Best of all a good 10-minute stretch sesh can also serve as a stress-reliever and aid in tension relieving.
F45 Recovery Athlete Cristina Chan gives us the rundown on some easy full-body stretches you can do at home in between those work breaks at home.
Target areas: Shoulders, Core, Hamstrings
Break away from the incessant crouching over a screen or device with this first stretch which works to lessen lower back stress. Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Hinging from your hips, reach down and place your hands flat on the floor in front of your feet. Next, shift your weight onto your hands and begin walking yourself forward into a high plank position. Engage your core and keep your hands directly under your shoulders. Walk hands backward and return to the starting position. Repeat two or three rounds of 45 seconds.
Standing Alternating Figure 4 Stretch
Target areas: glutes, hips, quad, back, shoulders
Take a break from sitting and get your blood circulating every hour or so with this figure 4 stretch! Stand arms’ length in front of a chair, table, railing, bannister or other similarly sturdy object. Cross your right foot over your left thigh, slightly above the knee. Hinge at your hip and bend your left knee into a single-leg squat position. You’ll feel a stretch in your right glute and your left ankle. Extend your arms straight out in front of you and hold onto the chair. Let your chest drop as you look down at the floor. You’ll feel a stretch along your shoulders and upper back. Hold for at least 5 seconds and then alternate to the opposite leg, repeat for time.
Target areas: Shoulders, Chest, Back
This is a good one to do even if you’re in the office. Give your arms and back a break from typing and scrolling with some arm circles. To relax your upper body, simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and extend your arms out to the side, parallel with the floor. Circle your arms forward using small, controlled movements. Gradually increase the size of the circles until you feel a stretch. Then, reverse the direction of your circles for an equal count.
Standing Windmill Toe Touch Stretch
Target areas: Hamstrings, Back
Put a spin on the classic standing toe-touch and rotate your torso for the extra core strengthening and spinal decompression. Stand shoulder width apart with arms extended at shoulder height. Twist your body and touch your opposite toes with your opposite hand. Alternate both sides for an equal count. This dynamic stretch introduces active movements to maintain smooth joint motions while working on total-body stability.
Standing Alternating Quad Stretch
Target areas: Quads, Hips
One of the easiest full-body stretches, is the standing quad stretch. Great for a warm-up anytime, anywhere, it can be done standing or lying sideways. The latter is recommended for individuals facing knee pain as it reduces weight placed on the other knee. To carry out this stretch, stand on your left leg, one knee touching the other. You can hold a chair or the wall to keep you steady if needed. Grab your right foot, using your right hand, and pull it towards your glutes. Hold the position for 5-10 seconds, then repeat, switching from your left leg to your right.