4 Daily Stretches for a Healthy Body

UPDATED: May 22, 2024
PUBLISHED: November 30, 2019

No matter how old you are or what you do for a living, we are all part of a society that spends way too much time sitting.

The following poses are aimed at keeping your body healthy as a counterbalance to all of the time we spend in a sedentary state. Keep in mind that more isn’t necessarily better, and try to find a gentle stretch you can breathe into. Happy stretching!

Figure 4 Hip Stretch

This pose is an accessible way to release the posterior hip and take pressure off of the sciatic nerve, which is great for athletes, as well as those who spend most of their day sitting.

Lie on your back with both feet on the floor, then place your right ankle on your left thigh just above your knee. If you feel a stretch here, stay. Otherwise, draw your legs in toward your torso and grab either behind your left hamstring or around your left shin. Stay here for one to two minutes, resting your head and back on the floor as you take a few deep breaths.

Supine Hamstring Stretch and Back Release

The hamstrings are notoriously tight, especially for those who sit a lot. The wonderful thing about this pose is that it stretches the hamstrings while also taking pressure off of the back.

Lie on your back and bend one knee in toward your chest. Start to straighten your leg until you feel a gentle stretch through the back of the leg. Grab behind the thigh or calf—somewhere you can relax into as you rest your head and back on the floor. Stay for one minute on each side.

Anterior Hip Stretch

Releasing the front of the hip can be a great way to prevent lower back and hip issues.

For this stretch, you’ll need a large bath towel rolled up tightly to about three or four inches in diameter. Lie on your back and place your feet on the ground, then lift your hips to place the rolled towel underneath your sacrum (the bone on the back of your pelvis, at the bottom of your spine). Hug one knee in toward your chest and stretch the other leg out on the floor. Relax and stay for one to two minutes on each side.

Related: 8 Yoga Poses for Optimal Digestion

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2019 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

Photo by @shanti / Twenty20

Tiffany Cruikshank, L.Ac, MAOM, E-RYT, is the founder of Yoga Medicine.