Studies indicate that the average adult spends between 6 to 13 hours a day sitting down. If you have a desk job and you also enjoy relaxing on your couch in the evenings, you probably fall somewhere in that range. (I think I average about 10 hours a day.)

But all that sitting can be hard on your body – especially your spine. If you tend to hunch over your keyboard, you can easily end up with an aching back.

So what can you do to alleviate the pain? According to Dr. Tony Delitto, a professor of physical therapy and dean of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, here are two of the best stretches that you can do:

  1. Stand up. Put your hands on your hips. Then bend backwards. Hold that position for about three seconds, and then straighten. Repeat this process five times, every one to two hours.
  2. Raise your hands above your head. With one hand, grab hold of your opposite wrist. Then stretch upwards. Switch your hand position and repeat.

According to Dr. Delitto, twisting and cracking your back doesn’t seem to provide much of a benefit. And you should be careful about bending over and touching your toes. It’s easy to overdo it, stretch too far, and possibly pull a muscle. In his opinion, the very best (and easiest) stretches are the ones described above. They’ll align your spine, improve your posture, and lead to better health. Happy stretching!


Mitchell, H. (2016, May 16). The best stretches for your back after sitting a long time. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from