bAt the end of the day, you probably spend hours sitting and staring at a screen. Whether it’s a computer for work, a smartphone for a break, or the TV to decompress, your body bends, twists, and rounds itself to accommodate the needs of your eyeballs.
Sitting can take a toll on cardiovascular health and mortality, which is one reason why taking breaks is so important. But your body has more immediate needs. Sitting can compress our lower back, tighten our hip flexors, shorten and round our hamstrings, and put stress on our shoulders and neck.
“The neck and back are meant to move, and when we sit in a fixed position all day, it increases the risk of muscle strain,” Nick Topel, an ISSA-certified personal trainer, previously told Well + Good.
Besides frequent breaks and movement, a bedtime stretch is just what the doctor ordered. In this 16-minute series, East River Pilates instructor Brian Spencer takes you through, in his words, some “delicious” pre-bed exercises.
Spencer spends the first half of the video focusing on relaxing and loosening your neck and shoulder muscles. You’ll be surprised at how much you need when doing these neck tilts and shoulder rolls. Some wrist series stretches the upper body to relieve your tendons from the stress of scrolling or typing all day.
For the second half of the video, the lower body and spine take center stage. You’ll start in a downward dog from which you’ll stretch the calves and hips. Next, lower yourself to the floor as you stretch your hamstrings and release your hip flexors and inner thighs. Finally, Spencer helps you create space in your spine with spinal twists and finally a plow pose, if you’re ready for it.
By the end, your body will definitely relax, but don’t be surprised if your mind is more ready for bed. Stretch and sleep well!