7-Minute Stretch Routine To Feel Good After Work

Stretching has powerful effects on health. Give your stiff muscles a break with these six stretching exercises.

By Namami
22 Feb 2023

Stretching has many powerful health benefits. As remote work options are increasing with demanding schedules, our sedentary lifestyle results in stiff muscles, migraines, poor posture, dehydration, tension, and lack of sleep, affecting our quality of life. Stretching every day for 10 minutes can be extremely beneficial for health.

“It’s not enough to build muscle and achieve aerobic fitness. You need exercises that can help you stretch, move, breathe and unwind,” says Vinod Channa, Mumbai-based celebrity fitness trainer. Without it, muscles shorten and become tight, which puts you at the risk for joint pain, strains and injury. Stretching everyday for 10 minutes will help you improve in physical fitness and overall well-being. If you’re wondering where to start, here are six easy stretches that’s a great kick off.


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Six Easy Stretches To Do After Work

According to a 2001 study titled ‘The Effect of Duration of Stretching of the Hamstring Muscle Group’ by the Journal of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation (USA), stretching showed an increase in range of motion in each muscle group. It has been shown that moderate stretching sessions everyday improve blood flow to the ligaments and muscles, increasing nutrient supply to the muscles and reducing pain. Stretching with targeted areas to improve the blood flow and lower stiffness will result in better posture and muscle strength.

1. Forward Fold



The forward fold pose improves digestion while stimulating the liver and kidneys. Moreover, bending forward soothes the mind, lessens tension, and lowers blood pressure.

  • Stand with your feet together, your chest out, your shoulders back, your eyes straight ahead, and your hands by your sides.
  • Take a deep breath in and out, roll your shoulders down, bringing the crown of your head towards the floor as you exhale.
  • Once you are folded forward, you may choose to interlace your fingers around your big toes (as shown), clasp your opposite hand around the opposite elbow, or gently press both hands against the floor.
  • Gently shake your head “yes” and shake your head “no” to relieve any tension in your neck.
  • Stay here for 30 to 60 seconds.


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2. Upper Neck Stretch



This is one of the best neck stretches for headaches as it targets neck soreness and muscle stiffness. It releases tight knots resulting in reduction of pressure build-up. Studies have shown 20 per cent of persons worldwide experience neck tightness or pain at any given time.

To stretch your neck:

  • Bend your head forward and slightly to the right.
  • With your right hand, gently pull your head downward. You'll feel a nice, easy stretch along the back left side of your neck.
  • Hold for about 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.


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3. Cat-Cow Pose



Cat-Cow pose warms up the spine, relieves back pain, improves posture and strengthens the spine and neck. Here is how to go about it.

  • Get comfortable on a yoga mat. Start on all fours with knees hip-width apart.
  • Create an arch in your lower back by raising your chest towards the sky.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and curve your back as you return to the starting position again.
  • Do this slowly 10 times.


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4. Pigeon Pose



“The goal is to create two 90-degree angles with your legs while you sit comfortably on the floor with a neutral back and un-hunched shoulders,” explains Channa. While there are many variations of this stretch, here's one the easy ones to do on your vacation.

  • Sit on the floor. Extend one leg in front of you with your hips rotated out to make a 90-degree angle.
  • Simply bend your other leg parallel to your hip to form a 90-degree angle.
  • Maintain a straight back and equally engage both hips while easing the raised hip down toward the floor.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds and try to complete 2-3 reps on each side.


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5. Reclined Twist



The reclining twist stance is a fantastic remedy for bad posture habits. It realigns the spine, eases the tension in the shoulders and upper back, and gives the chest and shoulders a nice stretch.

  • Lie faceup.
  • Hug your knees to your chest.
  • With your knees still at your chest, allow your arms to fully extend out to your sides, your gaze to go straight up toward the ceiling, and your shoulder blades to press down, feeling your back firmly against the floor.
  • From here, drop both knees gently over to one side as you allow your torso to twist in the opposite direction, and try to keep your upper back against the floor.
  • Try also to keep your knees and hips in line with each other as you draw them toward the floor, and keep your chest as square to the ceiling as you can.
  • Hold this stretch 30 to 60 seconds and repeat on the other side. Continue to rotate back and forth if time allows.


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6. Child’s Pose



The child's pose helps to stretch your back and muscles around your hips. It lengthens and stretches the spine. Child’s pose also relieves neck and lower back pain.

  • Kneel on a carpeted floor, or ideally, a yoga mat, with your knees hip-width apart and your feet together behind you.
  • Take a calming breath in, and as you exhale lay your torso over your thighs, slowly bringing your forehead to rest on the floor.
  • Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
  • Extend your arms overhead in front of you.
  • You can adjust this posture by taking your knees even further apart, or inching your fingertips forward to see what feels most comfortable.
  • Hold for 1 to 2 minutes or longer.


Related story: 10 Exercises To Relieve IT Band And Hip Flexor Pain


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