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The Benefits of Stretching

Stretching blog post 12.15Stretching is a great way to prevent and ease back pain. It’s also a great way to relieve stress and relax. Stretching involves controlled movement, controlled breathing, and a level of concentration that helps your mind to cancel out the day-to-day chatter in order to focus on the stretch. Many people feel completely invigorated after stretching! The best part is that you don’t need a lot of space, heavy equipment, or anyone to assist you to get a good stretch in. Before you start, though, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Stretching should be pain-free; do not force the body into difficult positions
  • Move into the stretch slowly and avoid bouncing, which may actually tear muscles
  • Hold stretches long enough (20-30 seconds) to allow muscles or joints to become loose
  • Wear comfortable clothes that won’t bind

If you’re looking for a few stretches to start with, Spine Universe has a few great ideas for stretches that help prevent or relieve back pain. Spine Universe recommends doing them 3 to 5 times each for optimal results. Remember it’s also important to breathe during the stretch, and of course, consult a doctor before starting any new exercise or stretching routine.

Back Extensions



  1. Lie on your stomach.
  2. Prop yourself up on your elbows extending your back.
  3. Slowly begin to straighten your elbows, further extending your back, until you feel a mild stretch. Hold.
  4. Return to the starting position.

Shoulder Rolls



  1. Stand with your feet flat on the floor, knees slightly bent, head forward.
  2. Using slow, fluid movements, roll your shoulders forward 10 times beginning with little circles and progressing to larger circles.
  3. Repeat step 2, rotating your shoulders backwards.
  4. Return to the starting position.

Standing Hamstring Stretch


  1. Stand with one leg straight out in front of you, resting it on a table or chair.
  2. Slowly bend the leg you are standing on until you feel a mild stretch under the thigh of the raised leg. Hold.
  3. Return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat with other leg.

You can do most stretches without accessories or spotters. However, a resistance band can provide targeted stretching and strengthening. Take a look at Shape Magazine’s favorite resistance band moves: they target your legs, back, and biceps!

Image: Shape Magazine

Image: Shape Magazine

Lastly, if you’re experiencing back pain at work, remember to plant your feet firmly on the floor. It sounds simple, but it’s a great way to set your seated posture. If your feet don’t reach the floor with your knees at a 90 degree angle, it will be harder to maintain proper posture at your desk. If you are unable to find a footrest to bring the floor closer to you, stack a couple of binders or reams of paper to bring your knees to 90 degrees. For more tips, check out our past blog post “5 Ways to Avoid Back Pain at Work.”

Now, I want to hear from you. Share your go-to stretches and back strengthening tips on our Facebook page!