We probably don’t need to tell you stretching is good for you. And, that you should stretch before and after a workout to prevent muscle injury. But, what about the stretching that you do independently of a workout. The stretches that help wake up your muscles and invite you to escape your nine to five (or whatever those hours may be) and regroup, even for just five to 10 minutes?
BENEFITS OF STRETCHING
Research shows implementing a stretch routine even just twice a week for those in seated office jobs can have positive impacts on one’s health. Scientists found that office workers who completed a simple 10-minute stretch routine twice a week (which consisted of five exercises, each held twice for roughly 20 seconds) for a 12-week period demonstrated improvements in both physical and mental health.
If we break it down, that means you’re going to spend less than .01% of your 2400 minutes at work (be it in an office or home office) throughout a five-day workweek moving your body. We can all get behind that, right?
While we may not have the stretch machines heavily funded research studies have at our disposal, if you have a chair, desk and/or table, you can make our simple stretch routine below happen.
Now, who’s ready to get started?
STRETCHES TO ADD TO YOUR WORKDAY ROUTINE
Take 5 to 10 minutes and perform the following stretches during your regular workday routine (read, we recommend finding time daily to weave this short stretch routine in.) Whether you do it at your office, make it part of your morning stretch routine at home, or fit it in while multitasking with the kid’s homework at the table, we know you will make it happen.
Perform each stretch for at least 15 to 20 seconds (or more if your flexibility and time allows it.) Repeat the stretches a second time if time allows. Based on your personal needs, adjust or omit stretches as necessary.
Sitting with your feet on the floor, back straight and arms resting on your lap. Roll your head down, then gently roll it to the left, then back, then to the right, and return to the forward, upright position. Repeat five times in each direction.
Side Neck Stretch
Sit with your feet on the floor, back straight, and arms resting comfortably in front of you. Focus on keeping your posture supported and your shoulders relaxed. Slowly lean your left ear towards your left shoulder to feel the muscles on the right side of your neck stretching. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds, then come back to center, check in with your posture, and repeat on the opposite side.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands down by your side, fingers extended, and gently raise your shoulders up, around, and down in a circle motion. Repeat 10 times forward, and 10 times the opposite direction.
In your chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor and your back straight, slightly turn to the right side, grabbing the back of your chair with both arms. Continue to stretch the left side of your body by holding your right arms on the back of the chair, twisting your torso as far as you can go without causing any pain. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, then return to center and repeat on opposite side.
Cross Body Pull
Stand with your feet firmly planted on the floor and your back straight. Take your right arm and bring it across your body, hold it in place with your left arm about an inch or two lower than your shoulder height. Use your left arm to continue to pull your right arm across the body as far as it can comfortably go. You should feel the stretch in your arms, back, and shoulders. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, then repeat on opposite side.
Standing with your feet firmly on the floor and your posture in good form, interweave your hands together behind your back. Pull your hands down together on your back and feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for 15 seconds then release.
Seated Pigeon Hip Stretch
Seated with your feet on the floor and your back straight, take your left foot and bring it up to rest on your right knee. Gently fold forward and feel the stretch in your thigh muscles. Hold for 15 seconds then release and perform on opposite leg.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Standing, get into a warrior pose with your feet wider than your hips. Keep your right leg bent in a 90 degree fashion with your right foot facing forward and your left leg back and straight. Your left (back) foot should be slightly positioned to the left at a 45 degree angle to maintain balance. Engage your core, relax your posture and keep your hands either on your hips, desk, or reaching for the ceiling depending on your balance. Hold for 15 seconds, release, and repeat on other side.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Move to the edge of your seat, then with one foot firmly planted on the floor, extended your opposite leg forward and flex your foot towards the ceiling. Slowly fold forward with your core engage and focus on the hamstring muscles slowly opening. Hold for 15 seconds, then release and repeat on opposite leg.
SIMPLE WORKDAY SNACKS
Find yourself looking for something to nosh on midafternoon after you’ve done your stretching? Then make sure you have some nutritious, keto*-friendly snacks on hand to tie you over until you make dinner. Here’s a few of our favorite options:
- 1/4 cup roasted nuts and seeds
- :ratio Keto*-Friendly Chewy Bars
- 2 tablespoons nut butter with almond crackers (or alternative keto*-friendly cracker)
- :ratio Cultured Dairy Snack
*Always consult your physician before starting an eating plan that involves regular consumption of high fat foods. See information for calorie, total fat and sat. fat content.
**These stretches were recommended by a certified personal trainer; however, we recommend you consult your physician before starting an exercise program if you have any health conditions or concerns that warrant a medical evaluation before beginning activity.