colorful silhouettes of men and women stretching

don’t just sit there…

daily stretching will make you stronger and healthier.

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It’s tough to avoid sitting. We sit at our jobs, at meals, in our cars, watching television, on our computers, and more. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 25% of Americans spend at least 8 hours daily sitting.1 And it’s not healthy.

One of the easiest ways to reduce the damaging effects of a sedentary lifestyle is by doing some simple stretching each day. It provides many health benefits for people of all fitness levels.

  • 1

Daily stretching will make you stronger and healthier, and will:2

  • Relieve your pain.

    In addition to improving your flexibility and range of motion, stretching will also increase muscle strength, reduce discomfort, and prevent injuries.

  • Reduce your stress.

    Stress causes your muscles to tense, especially in your neck, back, and shoulders. Stretching these body parts regularly will help loosen muscles and provide both physical and emotional relief from stress. It can also lower your blood pressure.

  • Give you a boost of energy.

    Whether you need a jump-start first thing in the morning or a pick-me-up in the late afternoon, a short stretching session will improve your blood flow and mental alertness. It’s healthier than a caffeine fix.

  • Improve your posture.

    Stretches that include your shoulders, chest, and lower back will strengthen your muscles and improve your spine alignment. Discover more about the benefits of improving your posture.

  • Increase your stamina.

    Stretching improves blood flow to your muscles, so they stay stronger longer. And stretching before a workout prepares your muscles for longer, more intense sessions.

  • 2

Don’t forget the exercise.

Stretching is good for your health, but it’s not a replacement for daily exercise.

Three easy stretches you can start with.3

Challenge yourself – do the following stretches today and see how you feel. After just one stretching session, you will likely start to feel a difference. Hold each pose for 30 seconds. Only stretch as much as is comfortable, being careful not to overextend your muscles.

  • 3
a low lunge pose that deeply stretches the back of the legs

Runner’s stretch.

Hips and thighs:

  • Start by kneeling on the floor.
  • Pull your right leg forward to a 90-degree angle.
  • With your hands on the floor on either side of your right leg, pull your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your left hip.
  • Now, slowly straighten your right leg, keeping your hands on the ground.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t straighten your leg completely. Switch sides with your left leg in front.
A stretch performed sitting on the floor, with your right leg up and crossed over your left

Seated back twist.


  • Sitting on the floor, pull your right leg up and cross it over your left and place your foot next to your left thigh.
  • Then, fold your left leg so your foot is next to your right glute.
  • Now, gently twist your shoulders to the right pushing against your leg for leverage. You should feel the stretch in your back.
  • Switch sides.
A person extends their right arm back, then their left

Chest stretch.

Chest and shoulders:

  • Stand in an open door.
  • If the door is not too wide, place forearms on each side of the doorframe. If the door is too wide you can do one arm at a time.
  • Lean forward into the doorway, until you feel the stretch in your chest and shoulders.

Stretch before bed too.

A short, regular stretching regimen before you hit the hay can relax you and help you fall asleep faster. Stretching before bed improves blood flow, reduces stress, and relieves tension. It can even help reduce lower back pain that keeps you up at night.

Don’t overdo it.

In the beginning, you may feel sore the next day, and might want to consider stretching every other day until your body is used to it. Remember – stretching should never be painful. If you’re experiencing pain of any kind, talk to a board-certified MDLIVE doctor in minutes for pain relief and much more.

  • 3 If you have a medical or mental health emergency, call 911. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a life-threatening condition or acute or severe symptoms.

Posted date: March 14, 2023

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