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Midday Stretching Sequence For Joint Stiffness

Show Your Joints Some Love With This 10-Minute Movement Sequence


When you're working from home, it's fairly easy to sit in the same spot all day long — give or take a few trips to the bathroom and the kitchen for lunch. But it's that lack of 9-to-5 motion that might be contributing to your joint stiffness come the end of the day.

One solution? Scheduling in a midday stretching break. For that, we turned to Steven Leonard, a yoga and meditation teacher and functional movement specialist at the Kripalu Center For Yoga and Health.

Check out his simple 10-minute sequence ahead.

Deep Breathing

"When you take slow, deep breaths, it signals the nervous system to relax," Leonard said. "When the nervous system is in a relaxed state, muscles, connective tissue, and joints tend to move in a more smooth and integrated way."

  • Practice deep breathing for one minute.

Joint Circles

"Circling the major joints of the body creates lubrication within the joint and also moves the surrounding muscles in a dynamic way," Leonard noted.

Hip Circles

  • Stand with feet a little wider than the hips.
  • Keep your hands relaxed down by your sides, or bring your hands onto your hips.
  • As you inhale, press your hips to the right and forward.
  • As you exhale press your hips to the left and back.
  • Continue to circle and adjust the size of the movement as it feels good for your body.
  • Circle for one minute in each direction.

Shoulder Circles

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • As you inhale, lift your shoulders up to your ears.
  • As you exhale, roll them forward and down.
  • As you inhale again, draw the shoulders back and up toward your ears.
  • Similar to the hip circles, allow the size of the shoulder circle to increase or decrease according to your body's needs.
  • Circle for one minute in each direction.

Knee/Ankle Circles

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Bend your knees deeply and bring your hands onto your thighs.
  • Begin to circle your knees slowly.
  • Inhale the knees to the right and forward.
  • Exhale the knees to the left and back.
  • You can either keep your feet flat on the ground or allow the inner and outer edges of your feet to lift and lower.
  • Circle for one minute in each direction.

Dynamic Movements

"Dynamic movements can be done slowly, quickly, in a small range of motion, or large range of motion," Leonard said. "The benefit of these exercises is to move in a holistic and integrated way — the way we evolved to move."

Squat Flow

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • As you inhale, reach your arms overhead and spread your fingers wide.
  • If it feels OK for your spine, allow a gentle backbend.
  • As you exhale, bend your knees and send your hips back into a squat.
  • At the same time, reach your arms forward, down, and then back behind you.
  • Continue this movement for one minute.

Side Stretch

  • Stand with your feet a little wider than the hips.
  • As you inhale, reach both arms overhead.
  • As you exhale, slide your right hand down your right leg and continue to reach up through your left fingers.
  • As you inhale, lift your back up to center.
  • As you exhale, repeat on the other side.
  • Continue this movement for one minute.

Swinging Twist

  • Stand with your feet a little wider than the hips.
  • Take a deep breath in.
  • As you exhale, touch your right hand to the front of your left shoulder, and your left hand to your low back.
  • Look over your left shoulder.
  • As you inhale, return to the beginning position.
  • As you exhale, touch your left hand to the front of the right shoulder, and your right hand to your low back.
  • Look over your right shoulder.
  • This movement can be done slowly or you can speed it up by swinging the arms side to side.
  • Feel free to let the feet move in any way that helps to shoulders and spine move.
  • Continue the movement for one minute.

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Image Source: Getty Images / Indeed
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