During the cold winter months we spend more time curled up on the couch. We put on our favorite sweats and assume the position: rounding our shoulders, hunching our backs and becoming one with the couch. This typical poor posture — which I like to call “couch slouch” — may feel comfortable, but it can actually lead to shoulder and back pain and overall stiffness in the body.
But there are stretches you can do to combat the strain that this posture puts on the body. I’ve created a stretching routine that you can perform from the comfort of your couch. You can even keep the TV on!
Remember to move slowly, especially if you’re coming off of a particularly long binge-watching session. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and focus on your breathing throughout.
Sit on the edge of the couch with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Then pick your left foot up and cross it over your right thigh. Flex your left foot. Feel a stretch in your left glute; if you need more of a stretch, you can lean forward. Keep your head and neck relaxed on the couch as you hold the stretch before switching legs.
Stand up straight facing the couch. Place your right foot on the couch, straightening your leg straight out in front of you. Hinge at the hips, bringing your chest toward your leg, feeling a stretch in the hamstrings. Hold before placing your right foot back on the ground and repeating with your left leg on the couch.
IT band stretch
Stand facing the couch and place your right foot on the couch. Turn at the waist, rotating your torso toward the right (toward your outstretched right leg). Keeping your right foot elevated on the couch, bend over your leg on a diagonal to the right. You should feel a stretch in the outside of your right leg from the hip to the knee. Hold before switching legs.
Hip flexor stretch
Facing the couch, step your left foot back a bit further and step your right foot up onto the couch. Keep your left leg straight and your hands on your hips. Lean into your right leg, bending the knee, until you feel the stretch in your hips. Hold before placing your right foot back on the ground and repeating with your left foot on the couch.
Sit on the couch with your legs straight out in front of you. Using your abs, lift both legs up toward your chest at a 45-degree angle. Lift your upper body off the couch so that your body forms a “V” shape. Keeping your legs glued together, extend them out and up into a straight line, and reach the arms up overhead. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 3 times.