The upper images are an example of poor sitting posture. When seated, your chest should be lifted, to avoid rolling the shoulders and slouching forward. In addition, you should not lean back too far putting your weight on your tailbone, as that may lead to low back pain. Try to keep your feet directly below the knees.
Sitting well starts with a good chair. Choose a chair with a firm, flat seat. Place your feet flat on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor. Sit on your sitting bones, not your tailbone, with your chest lifted and shoulders pressed down below your ears (bottom images). Assess your seated position throughout the day and alter as needed. If you knees are higher than you hips, add a blanket or cushion below your bottom.
Standing Chair Forward Bend
This stretch is helpful to do throughout the day to break up long periods of sitting. Stand with your feet hip distance apart and three to four feet from the back of your chair. Hold onto your chair as a point of balance and slowly bend forward to a comfortable position, keeping a soft bend in the knees. You should feel a nice stretch through your arms, shoulders and back. To increase the stretch into the back of your legs, bend forward even more using your hands to balance. Hold stretch for 20 seconds and repeat three times.
Start this exercise in a seated position with your chest lifted and your back straight. Gently turn your shoulders and head to one side; this will slowly turn your upper body. Use your chair arm, or the outside of your knee to help stabilize your position and hold for 15 seconds. Slowly twist your body back to starting position. Repeat three times on each side.
Fold Over Stretch
Start in an upright seated position with your hands on your knees. Slowly guide your hands down your shins. Fold down until you reach a comfortable position and let you arms and upper body hang. Tuck your head in and allow your neck to lengthen and hang freely as well. Hold in this folded position for 15 seconds and slowly rise back to seated position. Repeat three times.
In a seated position with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor, lift both arms straight ahead of you. Flex your right hand at the wrist and use your left fingers to gently pull the top of your right hand backwards. This will stretch and lengthen your forearm and wrist muscles and help release tension in these areas. Hold stretch for 10 seconds and repeat three times on each arm.
Seated Side Bend
Start in an upright seated position with your feet flat on the floor. With an exercise band or strap in your hands, raise your arms above your head with your arms shoulder distance apart. Be sure to keep your shoulders pressed down. Slowly bend to one side, keeping your arms the same distance apart and your shoulders pressed down. Hold in bent position for 5 seconds and slowly return to starting position, hold 5 seconds. Repeat three times on each side for a gentle stretch of the upper back, shoulders and arms.
Start in a seated position with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. With an exercise band or strap in your right hand, place your arms behind your back. Grab the exercise band with your left hand and slowly extend your arms behind you until they are straight. You should have slight tension in the exercise band. As you pull your arms away from your body, you should feel your chest and shoulders open. Be sure to keep your shoulders pressing down and back. Hold stretch for 15 seconds, repeat three times.
Sit upright toward the front edge of a sturdy chair. Place your feet below your knees, hip-width apart. Hook your left elbow over your right elbow and wrap your forearms, pressing the palms of your hands together as much as you can. Inhale and raise your arms as you arch your upper back.
Seated Neck Stretch
Sit with your back straight, chest high and with your weight equally distributed on your sitting bones. Slowly bend you neck to the side and hold in a comfortable stretching position for 15 seconds and return to starting position, repeat three times on each side. You can gently use your arm to aid you, if needed.