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5 Easy and Efficient Stretches You Can Do While Watching TV

A young man stretching his couch, watching a movie on his laptop.
Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

‘Tis the season for some serious Netflix and chillin’ as the weather outside doesn’t make us too eager to do anything else. If you want to work some fitness in, though, try these easy stretches you can do right on the sofa.

The Yawn Stretch

You know how when you start yawning, you usually stretch your arms over your head? Well, this stretch is exactly that, but with a little more intention. Sit on your sofa with your legs crossed or put your feet on the floor. Lift your arms over your head and interlace your fingers.

Take a deep inhale and stretch upward as far as you can. Extend your spine and lift your shoulders all the way toward your ears. On your exhale, drop your shoulders and create some space for your neck.

Stay in your current position and repeat this a few times. If you want, you can add some side stretches by grabbing one palm with your other hand and leaning to the side. Stretch your entire torso from shoulder to hip.

Try to prevent your hips from lifting and push your legs into the sofa as much as you can. Pretend you’re trying to separate your upper body from the lower.

This is a wonderful stretch for your spine. You’ll be able to feel each vertebra separating and creating space.

The Reach-for-the-Remote Stretch

We’ve all been there: you’re lying in your favorite position watching TV and want to change the channel, but the remote is out of reach. Your brain immediately starts calculating how you can get it with the least amount of effort. The next thing you know, you’re stretching out your arm or leg, doing your best to get it without moving your entire body.

That’s the position this stretch emulates. Elongating your limbs creates more space for your joints, releases tension, and improves blood flow. Lying on your back, reach out to one side with your arm as if the remote is far away and you’re trying to grab it without moving your torso.

Feel your shoulder stretching, your shoulder blade opening up, and even your neck getting a nice elongation. Stay here for a few breaths, return to the starting position, and then repeat with the other arm.

Next, stretch out one leg as far as you can as if you’re trying to reach something with your toes without moving your hips. Feel your hip get lighter and your lower back muscles stretching. Even your obliques will get in on the action.

Stay like this for a few moments, bring the leg back in, and then repeat on the other side.

Belly-Lying Chest Opener

If you’re most comfortable watching TV while lying on your belly, you’ll love how easy this upper-body stretch is—you won’t even have to roll over or pause your show.

Place your palms under your shoulders and bring your feet together on the floor so they’re touching side by side. Push the tops of your feet into the ground to lift your knees and feel your legs engage.

Inhale and push your palms and feet firmly into the floor. This creates a lift in your chest and a curve in your back. Roll your shoulders backward and keep your thighs engaged, turning them slightly inward. Keep your hips on the floor and keep gazing forward at the TV.

Exhale and relax, and then repeat three to five times.

Next, interlace your fingers behind your back and keep your feet together. Inhale and let your arms guide your upper body back, still pushing the tops of your feet into the floor. Let your upper body stretch out and elongate, opening your chest and shoulders. Feel the blood rushing straight to every joint, tendon, and muscle, and then exhale and relax. Repeat three to five times.

The Pillow Fold

Watching TV while hunched over a pillow is extra comfortable for your spine. This awesome (and easy) stretch mimics just that. So, grab a pillow and sit with your legs crossed and your back straight, preferably supported by the back of the sofa.

Place the pillow in your lap and hug it tightly. Inhale and straighten your spine as much as you can. As you exhale, hunch over the pillow, curving your spine and stretching all your back muscles. Lift your belly button to create even more space for your lower back. Rest your chin or forehead on the pillow to relax your neck completely.

Slowly roll back up to a straight spine, and then repeat twice more, going deeper with every exhale.

The Sideways Hip Opener

If you like watching TV while lying on your side, this hip stretch is definitely for you! It’ll help you release tension after a full day of standing or sitting, as well as improving overall mobility.

Start by bending the leg on top and pulling your knee toward your chest with your hand. Then, try to extend the lower leg as far away from you as possible. Take a deep inhale and, as you exhale, pull your knee in closer to your chest. This stretches your glute, hamstring, and lower back.

Slowly relax, and then repeat three to five times.

Next, inhale and open up the knee to the side to stretch your hip joint and supporting tendons. You can stay in this position or do some hip circles to one side and the other. These will improve the blood flow, loosen everything up, and allow in some fresh oxygen.

When you’re done, lower the leg, turn onto the other side, and then repeat with the other leg.

Try these awesome stretches next time you’re watching your favorite show. It will feel good to do something that’s good for your body while relaxing.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
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