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8 Pain-Relieving Stretches You Can Do Seated in a Chair

 A sedentary lifestyle can leave our joints and muscles aching in need of a good stretch, but many people are limited in time and have other restrictions that make daily exercising a real struggle. No matter if you’re a busy bee toiling away at work all day, a hardworking student, or a senior limited in their range of motion, this seated stretch routine will bring relief from pain and tightness in the muscles and tendons and other musculoskeletal conditions.
All 8 of these beginner-friendly stretches can be done in a chair and are equally simple and effective at relieving pain and tightness in different areas of the body.

1. Neck Stretch

chair stretches Neck Stretch
Needless to say, you can simply tilt your head back and forth or rotate it in circles to loosen up a tight neck, but if you're looking for a deeper stretch, this neck exercise is just what you need. This particular stretch is also very safe, as by raising your arm over the head, you're actually making your upper back straighten up, and this can help prevent your neck from getting hurt.
Directions:
1. Sit up straight and raise your right arm overhead, resting your right palm over the left ear. Try to avoid your right elbow from going forward, as this can strain your neck.
2. Slowly and gently bend your head to the right while simultaneously pressing your head against the right hand. You will start feeling a stretch on the left side of the neck.
3. Hold for 2-3 minutes and then repeat on the other side. You can repeat the stretch as many times as you'd like.  

2. Heart Opener

chair stretches Heart Opener stretch
Image Source: PsycheTruth/ YouTube
This is one of the most powerful stretches you can do for your upper body, as it activates your shoulders, arms, and chest muscles, and makes your upper spine straighten up right away, so it is truly a heart opener. This stretch is especially useful for those of you who work at the computer or read a lot, as it is essentially the opposite of hunching forward, so it will bring relief to a stiff neck and aching shoulders, and can even help you breathe easier, as it stretches the entire ribcage.
Directions:
1. Sit at the edge of your chair and take hold of the back of the chair, like the trainer does in the image above. It is important to pull down the shoulders and bring the shoulder blades as close together as possible to feel an effective stretch.
2. If you don't feel any effect right away, simply continue breathing and you will soon start feeling a pleasant stretch in your neck, shoulders, and chest. To deepen the stretch, you can also raise your hands further up on the back of the chair.
3. Hold this position for 3-5 minutes and repeat as many times a day as you'd like.

3. Forearm Shoulder Stretch

chair stretches elbow shoulder stretch
Here is another stretch that targets the shoulder muscles, but it's a lot gentler and more focused than the previous one. The exercise targets the back portion of the shoulder muscles, as well as the arms, making it perfect for both shoulder pain and tension in the neck.
Directions:
1. Extend your left arm in front of you at shoulder level, then use your right forearm to move the left arm closer to the chest until you start feeling a stretch in the left side of the neck and the left shoulder. Don't worry if your forearm doesn't reach the chest, the most important thing is to feel a stretch.
2. Hold for 2-3 minutes and then repeat on the other side.

4. Reach For the Sky

chair stretches sky stretch
This is one of the easiest stretches you can do, and it really energizes your upper body and activates the spine. Simply lock your fingers together and reach high into the sky with a straight spine. To really feel this posture, move from side to side, backward and forward - this will help you stretch the side muscles and arms.
A little trick here is to push the shoulders down while stretching the arms up, as this will ensure you're not straining your neck while doing this exercise. If you can manage to hold this position for a few minutes without lowering your hands for a few repetitions, the exercise can even be quite effective at activating the back and core muscles.

5. Wrist Pain Relief

chair stretches wrist stretch
Wrist pain is another one of those occupational hazards, no matter if you draw, write a lot, type a lot, or garden. Your wrists are among the most sensitive joints in your body, and constant strain and inflammation can really make them become painful.
The first exercise targets the inner side of your wrist: extend your arms at shoulder level, then press the right hand against the inner part of the left palm, and slowly increase the pressure until you feel a stretch in your hand and forearm (see image above). Hold for a few minutes, and then repeat on the other side.
To stretch the outer arm muscles in a second similar stretch, simply press the right hand against the top of the left hand and hold for a few minutes. Don't forget to repeat on both sides. 

6. Tricep Stretch

chair stretches Triceps Stretch
This exercise is designed to stretch the triceps, so it can help relieve shoulder pain and neck strain without any particular effort or tension put on the spine or neck.
Directions:
1. Reaching both arms overhead, bend the right arm and hold the right elbow with the left hand. In this position, your right hand should nearly or completely be touching the left shoulder blade.
2. Using the left hand, pull the right elbow gently down, which should produce a stretch in your right side and right tricep.
3. Hold for 3-5 minutes, then repeat on the opposite side.

7. Energizing the Spine

chair stretches


Strengthening the back and promoting spinal health while sitting on a chair is possible, all you have to do is to repeat this exercise on a daily basis. This exercise will energize the sides of your body as well, and it's great at improving your overall posture.

Directions:

1. Raise the right arm overhead while simultaneously holding the right thigh with your left hand. If this sounds confusing, just see the reference image above.

2. On an exhale, slowly and mindfully tilt your torso towards the left. Continue reaching your arm towards the right as well. Activate your abdominal muscles and pull your shoulders together to maintain a straight posture.

3. Hold this pose for 1-2 minutes, breathing deeply to make the stretch more effective. Then repeat on the other side. Try to do at least 3 reps on each side. 

8. Leg and Hamstring Stretches

The hamstrings and the muscles of the lower back are among the most affected by a sedentary lifestyle, so it's essential to stretch them out on a daily basis.

The video below focuses on 3 different stretches you can do on your chair that will target the lower half of the body: one that focuses on the hamstrings, another one that stretches out the gluteal muscles and lower back, and finally, an exercise for the thigh muscles.

We hope you will make use of all these exercises and they will make a difference in your wellbeing.

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