Exercise Snack: Back and Leg Stretches

Exploring Intensity

Exercise Snack: Back and Leg Stretches

During the COVID era, many of us are sitting too much working at home or binge-watching TV shows. There’s a dearth of annoying co-workers popping their heads into our offices to get us up to walk to a meeting or out to lunch.

We want our clients to make sure they are using exercise snacks to ward off the pains that come from too much sitting. An exercise snack is not a Cardio High experience; there’s no sweating so there’s no need for a shower after you finish. It’s also something that can be done in 10-20 minutes, so the “I just don’t have time excuse” does not work as well.

We highly recommend this exercise snack for tight lower backs and legs. All you need is a mat or carpeted surface.

Do each of these for roughly 30-40 seconds:

Cat and dog stretch

Moving Child’s Pose: Sit back on heels and sway left and right

3D Child’s Pose: Walk hands to left and reach out with right arm and sit back. Repeat opposite side.

Bird Dog: On all fours extend right arm and left leg. Draw belly in and hold for one long breath. Switch sides.

Active Leg Stretch: Lie on back with hands behind one thigh and raise/lower bottom part of leg. Switch sides.

Leg Raise: Extend legs out with palms face down by side. Press elbows down and raise each leg one at a time.

Torso Rotation: Bring knees to chest. Let knees fall to left as right shoulder presses down into mat. Switch sides.

Bridges: Place feet on floor close to butt and lift hips off ground. Slowly repeat for 45-60 seconds.

Hug knees into chest and stretch low back

Inch Worms: Start in high plank. Slowly walk feet in towards hands until you feel stretch in back of legs. Step out. Repeat.

High Knee March: Draw belly in. Slowly march knees stretching hips. Add opposite arm raise.

Mountain Pose: While standing, press feet into floor until quads and glutes are engaged. Raise arms up and breathe.

Squat to Tippy Toes with Arm Raise: Activate calf muscles, stretch mid back.

Shoulder shrugs followed by squeezing shoulder blades together

Mckenzie Neck Stretch: Tuck in chin. Head to one shoulder. Press up into hand. Hold for long breath. Release. Switch sides.

Leg Swings: Stand on one leg and actively swing opposite leg back and forth.

Up and Down Dog: On all fours, bend knees, press chest toward toes. Lift hips and stretch back of legs. Hold. Move into high plank, slowly lower hips. Look up. Repeat.

Half Cobra: Lie on belly and prop up on forearms. This is the opposite of rounding shoulders while sitting. (Clients with disc issues should come up slowly into half cobra).

Standing Wall Stretch: Hands against wall. Ears between elbows. Lift hips until you feel stretch in back of legs. Breathe.

Hip Flexor and Quad Stretch: Hip flexor on one knee. If right knee down, tighten right glute. Raise right arm. Switch. For quad, elevate back foot on stair or stool (6-12″) and repeat hip flexor stretch.

-Mark G.