Whether you sit for long periods of time at the office or you’re a truck driver who spends hours sat in your vehicle, your body can develop tight back muscles that cause back pain. Changing positions, taking breaks, and using a standing desk may help ease your discomfort, but if you’re looking for an extra boost to your flexibility and lower back health, chair exercises can provide some much-needed relief.
The Right Position
You need to start out in the best position possible, so sit up straight with your feet firmly planted on the floor and your knees at a 90-degree angle. Edge your chair just a little forward to create a little more room behind you as you stretch.
This stretches the spine, hips, and waist. It initiates a deep stretch of the thoracic cavity, opening up the chest and increasing lung capacity. It also counteracts slouching and hunching in the shoulders.
The Roll Down Stretch
This stretch is a great take on the spinal roll down stretch, but you don’t need to roll your entire spine down as this video does; simply sit up straight, put both feet on the floor, and breathe deeply as you slowly begin rolling your vertebrae down by vertebrae. You can even tilt your pelvis forward for a deeper stretch.
The Knee to Elbow Raise
Another excellent posture re-alignment exercise, this stretch involves sitting up straight, and lifting the left knee to touch your left elbow. You can also hold the position for a few seconds, which will allow your lower back to fully stretch.
The Lean Twist
This exercise can be used as a core strength training exercise as well, since it requires you to twist and lift the upper body in order to perform the movement. This is a great way to build core stability, which can improve your ability to stand and walk, as well as reduce the risk of injury.
The Knee-to-Elbow Stretch
This chair based stretching exercise is simple to do. Just place one foot over the other, with your thigh and knee resting on the seat of the chair. Breathe in as you bend your knee, and hold the stretch for 30 seconds or so. Repeat with the other leg when you’re ready to try it.
The Squat Extension
This is another great postural re-alignment exercise that can be done in the chair, but it’s better to do it outside of the office where you’ll have more room. You can also do it in your car if you’re feeling extra sore in the back from being seated for long periods of time.
The Sit Up without a Bench
This squat-based stretches can be done while you’re seated, but you can also do it standing up in the same chair. Just keep your abs tight and pull your belly button in toward your spine while you extend your legs to the side, then back up again.