Prolonged sitting in any position tightens your hip flexors and compresses your lower back, causing low back pain, hip stiffness and weak core muscles in your torso and hip. Proper stretching and movement patterns can prevent pain and alleviate many joint and muscular problems in your body, including arthritis, herniated disc and muscular weakness.
Back Pain Prevention; Stretching alleviates compression upon the disc between the vertebrae that can cause degenerative disc disease or arthritis. It increases the intervertebral disc space and makes the connective tissues and muscles around the spine more mobile and less stiff. Sitting with proper posture places about 150 percent of your upper body weight upon your spine, while sitting with poor posture places about 200 percent of your upper body weight upon your spine, according to biomechanist Susan Hall, author of “Basic Biomechanics.” If you weight 100 lbs. in your upper body, you would place between 150 to 200 lbs. of compressive force upon your lumbar spine.
Improve Mobility; Mobility refers to your ability to move in all planes and ranges of motion without restriction or pain. Dynamic stretching, which is moving your joints and muscles within their normal range of motion repetitively, loosens your tissues and improves muscle elasticity due to the increase in body temperature and neural stimulation. Therefore, this will help you reduce muscle and joint stiffness from prolonged sitting.
Strengthens Core; Stretching your body can also strengthen your core, which includes your abdominal muscles, back, hip and parts of your upper thighs. Your core’s job is to stabilize your body to prevent injuries and to maintain proper alignment while you move in different directions. Since prolonged sitting often weakens your core, you should perform stretching exercise in a standing or kneeling position. These positions automatically fire your core to support your body and to maintain your balance. Having a strong and flexible core helps prevent poor posture that contributes to spine and joint diseases, hip stiffness and back pain.