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To Stretch or Not to Stretch?

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Stretching might be the word that I hear the most when speaking with clients regarding what they need. Yet, how often do you hear people say they stretch regularly? Personally, I know I do not stretch enough, especially following workouts; however, I probably stretch more than most. And you know how I make sure to get my stretching in? I add it to my day. And remember, stretching should never be painful, only tightness or pulling should be felt. Let’s discuss a few of my favorite stretches and how to get them to fit into your life.

When You Have a Sitting Job

Do you spend the majority of your day sitting? Are you working at a desk/computer or driving a car/truck all day or are you a student? Most of the strain in the sitting position falls onto your spine and hips. Watching your posture is huge for the sitting employee, but also working on the mobility of your hips and spine. A few of my favorites include:

  • Back bends: Sitting in a hard back chair with the top at approximately your shoulder blades, bend backwards over the top of the chair until you feel a gentle stretch in your middle back.

  • Shoulder blade squeezes: Gently pinch your shoulder blades down and back towards your back pockets, aka stick your chest out.

  • Figure 4 stretch: Cross one foot over the opposite thigh and gently press the knee down towards the floor until a stretch is felt in your hip/buttock.

To learn more about how our posture affects our bodies, click on the link to read my blog:

When You Have a Standing Job

Does your job include hours upon hours of standing or walking? Do you work in retail, teaching, factory/warehouse? Standing work can lead to strain of the low back/hips or lower extremities. Using your core and glutes is the best thing you can do to decrease the work these body parts have to do. Stretches that I do myself include:

  • Child’s pose: Either standing and using a countertop or in kneeling, reach your arms forward, pushing your hips back until a stretch is felt in your low back. You can perform in a diagonal position also to specify one side of the low back.

  • Pelvic tilts: Contract your abdominal muscles and your buttock muscles at the same time to tilt your hips back or flatten your low back.

  • Hip flexor stretch: Standing in a lunge position, keep your trunk upright and squeeze your buttock on the side where the leg is back. You should feel a stretch in the front of your thigh and hip.

When You are Active or an Athlete

If you workout regularly or you’re training for a sport, you may experience soreness or tightness in different areas depending on what you are working on. The most important thing is to have mobility in your joints to allow for freedom of movement and prevent strains in your activity or sport. Generally, there are a few stretches that are good for any athlete or active individual such as:

  • Groiners: Start in a high plank position and bring one foot to the outside of your hands until a stretch is felt in both hips.

  • Open books: Laying on your side, bend your top knee and hip and rest your knee on the floor. Take your top arm up and over, letting your head follow, until a stretch is felt in your spine.

  • Pec stretch: Using a doorway, put your forearms on the doorframe and gently step forward until a stretch is felt in your chest.

How to Fit Stretching into Your Busy Schedule

It can be hard to fit regular stretching into your schedule; it’s hard enough to fit your workout in sometimes. I find it easiest to fit stretching in as you go along. For example, as I am working on clients while they lay on a treatment table, I will position myself in a stretched position. If I am passing through a doorway and have a few extra seconds, I will stretch out my chest as described above. As I am driving from client to client, I spend my time working on my posture and bringing my shoulder blades together.

The options are endless for how to fit stretching in as you go along your daily routine. If you would like to learn more about stretching or how to fit it into your life, let me know and we can discuss your specific needs and develop a plan for you to meet your goals.

For more information regarding increasing mobility, you can check out my blog Fixing Stiff Hips or Low Back:

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