By the end of the day, you’ve probably spent hours upon hours sitting and looking at a screen. Whether it’s a computer for work, a smartphone for breaks, or the TV to decompress, your body has been bending, jutting, and rounding itself to accommodate the needs of your eyeballs.
Sitting can take a toll on the body when it comes to cardiovascular health and mortality, which is one reason why it’s so important to take breaks. But your body has more immediate needs, too. Sitting can compress our lower backs, tighten our hip flexors, shorten our hamstrings, and round and put pressure on the shoulders and neck.
“The neck and back are meant to move, and when we sit all day in a static position, this increases the risk of muscle strain,” Nick Topel, an ISSA-certified personal trainer, previously told Well+Good.
In addition to 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 “yummy” stretches to do before bed.
Spencer spends about the first half of the video focusing on relieving and loosening your neck and shoulder muscles. You’ll be amazed by how much you needed these neck tilts and shoulder rolls when you do them. Some wrist stretches round out the upper body portion of the series in order to relieve your tendons from the strain of scrolling or typing all day.
For the second half of the video, the lower body and spine take center stage. You’ll begin in a downward dog from which you’ll shift into calf and hip stretches. Next, find yourself on the floor as you extend your hamstrings, and release your hip flexors and inner thighs. Finally, Spencer helps you create space in your spine through spinal twists and ultimately a plow pose, if you’re up for it.
By the end, your body will definitely be looser, but don’t be surprised if your mind is more ready for bed, too. Stretch and sleep well!