Don’t be afraid to do your stretches on the couch when you’re having a lazy day!
I don’t know about you, but I know there are times (usually late at night) when I realized I haven’t stretched for the day. By this point, I’ve often been curled up on the couch for at least an hour and I have no desire to get and move… despite how good I know I will feel after!
Let me tell you- I’ve had a few days in a row where I’ve given in to laziness… and I almost immediately notice at least three areas of tight muscles. Pain-free movement is one of those things you take for granted until you don’t have it anymore, and all it takes is a few minutes of daily stretching.
Part of why this happens is that humans were not designed to be a sedentary species, but our current lifestyles have encouraged near-constant sitting. When you remain in one position for too long, your muscles can relax to the point of weakness, much like how you feel sore after a long day of travel.
One way to combat this is to incorporate more movement into your day to encourage good circulation and prevent stiffness. Here are some great stretches that you can do right on your couch!
(If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop immediately and talk to your health care professional.)
Foot and ankle stretches:
- Point your toes.
- Flex your toes and arch your feet up.
- Circle your ankles, both clockwise and counter clockwise. Try both with your toes pointed and flexed.
- Tilt your ankles inwards so that your toes point together, then tilt them outwards so that your heels are almost together.
- Have some fun and spell different words with your feet, one letter at a time. (This is also a common rehab exercise!)
- Plant one foot firmly on the floor. Cross the opposite leg over so that your ankle is resting on the knee of the foot that is planted. Lean forward or backward until you feel a satisfying stretch. Repeat on the other side.
- Lift your leg up so that it is parallel to the ground. Rotate your ankle so that your toes point either towards the left, then repeat on the right.
- If there is enough room on your chair or couch, bend your legs and bring your feet together to form a diamond sit. Vary the stretch by bringing your feet closer to you or by pressing on your knees with your elbows to open up your hips.
- Extend your leg out beside you on the couch or out towards a footstool. Reach forward to touch your toes. (Ensure that your ankle is not higher than your hip to prevent injury.)
- Slide to the edge of the couch and extend your leg out to the side, keeping your foot on the floor. Extend your leg until you feel a nice stretch.
- Sit up straight and tilt to the side, elongating your side.
- Rotate your torso, using the back of your seat if you need to. Use caution, as you can over-rotate if you twist too hard.
- Curve your shoulders inward and lean forward, rounding your back. (Think of this as an upright, seated version of the Cat pose.)
- Grab your hands together behind your back and arch backward slightly.
- Combine elements of these stretches, such as tilting one way as you rotate another. This will allow you to stretch more muscles in your back.
- Extend your arms straight out to the sides, making a “t” shape.
- With your arms extended out to the side, rotate your hands so that your palms are facing different directions, from facing up, to in front, to facing down, to behind you. Notice each different muscle group that is involved in each stretch!
- Circle your arms forward or backward. You can do this either with one arm at a time, both arms going in the same direction, or each arm going in an opposite direction at the same time. Adjust the size of your circle to the room you have to move in.
- Raise your arms so that your elbows are parallel to your shoulders, with your hands pointing towards the roof. From here, extend your arms above your head and slowly bring them back to your starting position.
- Release your inner octopus and make ‘waves’ out of your arms. This helps to promote circulation, activates several muscles, and helps you not take life too seriously! 🙂
- Circle your wrists, both clockwise and counter clockwise.
- Flex your wrists, so that your fingers point up and that you see the backs of your hands.
- Bend your wrists down, with your fingers pointing towards the floor.
- Bring your fingertips to your shoulders.
- Extend both arms straight out, with your palms facing together. Tilt your wrists down toward the floor or up toward the ceiling.
- Slowly, shrug your shoulders, bringing your shoulders towards your ears and then back down to their starting position.
- Extend your arms and clasp your hands together above your head.
- Bend one arm behind your head, with your other arm gently pressing your bent elbow towards the floor. Repeat on the other side.
- Sit up straight and pull your shoulder blades together.
- Extend your arms behind you slightly, with your palms facing up.
- Tilt each ear towards the corresponding shoulder.
- Look up towards the roof.
- Tilt your head to look at your belly.
- Rotate your head to look over either shoulder.
- Combine these stretches to enhance them, such as looking down towards your belly while you tilt your ear towards your shoulder.
Some of these stretches are subtle, while some will provide a stronger stretch. They are all great for increasing your range of motion, getting your blood pumping, and reducing the risk of being sore from sitting too long!
When you finally get off the couch, be sure to allow yourself to enjoy one nice big stretch to prepare you for your next step- whether that is a task off your to-do list or to tuck yourself into bed.
If you’re looking for a more complete set of stretches or to focus on stretching out your hips and lower back, be sure to download WeStretch today! With the free trial of WeStretch’s PRO subscription, you can relieve tension in each sore spot in your body with targeted stretching! If you need to wake up again after a long work day or from a solid binge session, be sure to try out the workplace break time routine- it’s one of my personal favourites!
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This article is not intended to act as or replace medical advice. Please talk to your health care practitioner if you have any concerns.
Written by Kayla Willsey