This article was originally written for STACK.
The vast majority of us sit far too long each day. Whether you're an athlete in school or a weekend warrior who works throughout the week, you simply aren't standing as much as you should. This leads to many problems.
Muscles tighten up, joints become stiff and your posture gets all out of whack. This can lead to pain or even an injury if you're not careful. It's difficult to undo hours of sitting, but there are a few exercises that can help correct these problems.
Here are five moves that you can do each and every day to help maintain your body.
Drop to half-kneeling position with your back knee on the ground, close to a bench, box, wall or other fixed object. The closer you are to the object, the more difficult the exercise will be.
Make sure the front leg is in a stable lunge position directly in front of your body, with your shin vertical (knee over heel).
Keep your mid line tight throughout the stretch. Do not over-arch your back.
Squeeze your glutes and practice moving your hips forward to increase tension.
Do 2-5 minutes total each side
Elevated Pigeon Stretch
Lay one leg flat on top of a bench, box or other fixed object (approximately knee-to-hip height), perpendicular to your body.
Keep your back tight and squeeze your glutes.
Practice rotating your upper back and/or leaning forward to intensify the stretch.
If you experience any knee pain, bring your foot closer to your body or let it hang off the object.
Do 2-5 minutes total each side.
Corner Pec Stretch
Face a corner in a room where two walls come together at 90 degrees.
Extend your arms to your sides at a 90-degree angle, and place your forearms and hands on the wall.
Maintain an upright posture with your "chest high" as you lean your chest closer to the corner.
Do 2-5 minutes total.
Quadruped T-Spine Extension/Rotation
Get into the quadruped position (on your hands and knees with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees below your hips) and place one hand on the back of your head.
Rotate your upper back inward so your elbow points toward your opposite knee.
Briefly pause, and then rotate your upper back outward so that your elbow is pointing toward the ceiling.
Keep your lower back tight and avoid rounding throughout the movement.
Do 3x10 each side.
Hang from a pull-up bar or other fixed object with your arms fully extended.
Keep your head straight, core tight and shoulders up by your ears.
Do 3-5 minutes total per day