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Treat Your Body To This 10-Minute Stretching Workout

stretching-at-desk
(Image credit: Unknown)

There are a few well-established ways to look after yourself that most people know about. There’s regular exercise, staying hydrated, getting your five-a-day and trying to sleep seven to eight hours a night. It’s not always easy to stick to those guidelines, but most people will at least know they should try.

We’re going to add another thing to that list: regular stretching, especially if you spend most of your days stuck at a desk or on the sofa. Stretching is incredibly good for you, and can help you avoid the common aches and pains that arise from a sedentary lifestyle. Even if you do exercise regularly it’s worth taking a quick break here and there throughout the day to stretch.

This 10-minute stretching routine has been put together by Cristina Chan, personal trainer with F45 (opens in new tab), which includes recovery sessions in its programme of workouts. It’s specifically designed to help desk workers loosen the parts of the body that can end up tight after hours at a computer, but pretty much everyone can benefit from including it in their daily routine.

10-Minute Stretching Workout

Perform each movement for 45 seconds, using the 15 seconds of rest to transition to the next move. Complete two rounds of the entire sequence. For movements isolating one side of the body, switch to the opposite side in the second round.

1 Reverse shoulder stretch

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Target muscles Deltoids, pecs and biceps

This stretch will open up your chest and shoulders while also helping your upper back.

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Clasp your hands behind your back. Fully extend your arms, keeping your palms facing your back. Slowly lift your hands to stretch.

2 Bridge

Bridge

(Image credit: Unknown)

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Target muscles Lower back, glutes, adductors, hamstrings, calves, core and abs

If you suffer from an aching lower back, this move will help, not only by opening up tight hip flexors – a contributor to lower-back pain – but also by strengthening your core and glutes to help support your back.

Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart and flat on the floor. Place your arms along your sides with your palms flat on the floor. Push to raise your hips and lower back off the ground, keeping your shoulders on the floor. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to hips. Hold for 45 seconds.

3 Seated pigeon stretch

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Target muscles Glutes, hip flexors and lateral rotators, and quadriceps

Prolonged periods of sitting can quickly become uncomfortable, but this easy way to stretch your hips, butt and thighs can provide relief.

Sit upright in a chair with both feet planted on the floor, directly under your knees. Lift your right foot – with your hands, if needed – and set it on your left knee or thigh, bringing your lower right leg towards horizontal, either by gently pressing down on your right knee or by hugging your left knee towards your chest. Keep your weight evenly distributed – for example, don’t lean more to your right side because your leg is lifted.

4 Wrist flexion

Wrist flexion

(Image credit: Unknown)

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

You may be doing this simple stretch already to relieve tight wrist muscles, caused by typing on a keyboard and clicking a mouse.

Extend your arm in front of you with the palm facing up, then gently pull your fingers down and back with your other hand. Hold for 45 seconds.

5 Wall chest stretch

Time 45sec Rest 15sec

Target muscles Deltoids, pecs and biceps

Is your posture suffering? This move helps open up your chest and the front of the shoulders, relieving tight muscles which are associated with poor posture.

Stand in a staggered stance, right foot forwards, and place your right palm on the wall. Move closer to the wall, aiming to press your right shoulder against it. Turn your head and look over your left shoulder to open up your body. Keep your body in this position for 45 seconds. Don’t hold your breath.

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.