5 Ways to Stretch Using a Kitchen Chair

Published: April 13, 2020, at 6:55 p.m. PT

Last updated: April 13, 2020, at 6:55 p.m. PT

Women sitting on chair with knee in air and foot lifted doing a stretch

While you’re staying indoors following the 'Stay Home, Stay Healthy' guidelines from Governor Inslee, you might find yourself sitting for longer periods of time to watch TV, to play games and puzzles, to work, or to enjoy more home-cooked meals. To get your body feeling aligned and well again, try these five ways to stretch from the comfort of your kitchen chair.

1. Seated Spinal Stretch

  • White sitting in a firm chair, plant your feet on the floor and sit up tall.
  • Make sure that your feet, knees, and hips are all in one line. This means that your feet are hip width apart while you are sitting and that your knees are not buckling inwards.
  • With your hands resting gently on your thighs, inhale lifting your chest and your chin. Let your shoulders draw back creating a small arch in your upper back.
  • As you exhale, let your shoulders drop forward, your chin tuck, and your belly button draw in. Looking at this hunched position from the side, your body will look like the letter “C.”
  • Continue to inhale while lifting up, and exhale rounding down. Continue to do this for 5 to 10 rounds of your breath.
  • This movement warms up the front and back of your spine.

2. Seated Spinal Twist

  • Find yourself in the same alignment as the exercise above.
  • Place your right hand on the side or base of the chair and your left hand on your right thigh. Your body will start to twist towards the right-hand side.
  • As you inhale, sit up tall. As you exhale, twist towards the right, imagining the twist starting from the base of your spine and moving upwards.
  • Hold this twisted position for 3 to 5 breaths and release back to center.
  • Repeat these steps on the left-hand side.
  • This twisting does not need to be very deep for your body to get the benefits of the twist. Think more about twisting to the side rather than twisting to the back to look behind you.

3. Seated Forward Fold

  • Step your feet out wider than hip or shoulder distance. Make sure your feet are planted firmly on floor.
  • Push your hips towards the back of the chair. Place your hands on your thighs.
  • Moving slowly, start to walk your hands down your legs until you feel a stretch in your back and hamstrings. You might stop with your hands on your knees, shins, ankles, or on the floor. Where you stop depends on your level of flexibility.
  • Once you have folded as far forward as is comfortable for your body, stay there for 3 to 5 breaths.
  • To come back up and exit this position, slowly walk your hands back up your legs. When your hands are on your knees or thighs, press your hands into your legs to help lift your head back up.
  • Take 3 to 5 breaths in a seated position before getting up to help your body recoup from the elevation change.
  • If you have high blood pressure, do not let your head go below your heart during this stretch.

4. Seated Lower Back Stretch

  • Sitting in a firm chair, plant your feet on the floor and sit up tall.
  • Make sure that your feet, knees, and hips are all in one line. This means that your feet are hip width apart while you are sitting and that your knees are not buckling inwards.
  • Start to lift your right knee up and clasp your hands below the knee.
  • With a strong grip on the right shin, hug your knee deeply in towards your chest for a stretch on your lower back. Press your left foot into the floor for added support.
  • Hold this position for 3 to 5 breaths. Gently release the leg back down to the floor.
  • Switching to the other side, repeat this stretch by hugging your left knee into your chest.
  • This stretch should help release tension in your lower back.

5. Seated Hip Stretch

  • Find yourself in the same alignment as the exercise above.
  • Place your right ankle over your left knee. You may want to keep your hands on your right shin to help hold your leg in place while in this position.
  • As you inhale, sit up tall. As you exhale, lean forward to help increase the stretch.
  • Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths.
  • Repeat these steps on the left-hand side.
  • For some of us, just placing the ankle over the knee is enough of an outer-hip stretch and leaning forward will be too intense. You should be able to breathe deeply while in this position. If you are holding your breath, then sit up taller and ease out of the position.
Category: Mind & Body