For some, stretching can feel like flossing. We know the benefits, but we can’t spare the few extra minutes to do the job. But because, yes, we can spare the extra five minutes, it’s time to invite a little midday self-care into our daily routines.

Stretching can help relieve stress, heal and prevent back pain, decrease post-workout recovery time and improve joint mobility. Here, Catherine Thorpe, owner of and instructor at Full Out Barre, walks us through a few quick, simple stretches that can be done at the office, in the kitchen or any time or place you might need them.

We’re feeling better already.

Neck Stretch

Good for: neck and upper-back tension and pain

Hair and makeup by LORI WENGER.

Hold for 30 seconds - 1 minute

Sitting or standing comfortably, take hands behind the head and begin to tuck chin to the chest. Keeping shoulders over the hips, gently press on the back of the head to lengthen the neck. Hold at the point of tension.

Upper Back Stretch

Good for: upper- and mid-back pain, helps bring awareness to the core and proper posture

Hold for 30 seconds - 1 minute

Sitting with shoulders stacked over hips and hands under thighs, slowly tuck the chin to the chest while curling forward and pulling the belly toward the spine. Press shoulders away from the ears and imagine separating between the shoulder blades while creating a rounded "C" with the back.

Hamstring Stretch

Good for: back tension, lengthening the back of the working leg and the inner thigh of the standing leg

Hair and makeup by LORI WENGER.

Hold for 30 seconds - 1 minute

Stand with standing foot turned out to 2 o’clock and place opposite foot on a chair, stool or desk. Slowly hinge forward and hold at the point of tension, then switch sides. Keep back straight, keeping shoulders in line with the hips and head in line with the neck.

Hip Opener

Good for: hip tightness and tightness in the gluteus medius (upper most muscle of the seat) which can cause low back and hip pain

Hair and makeup by LORI WENGER.

Hold for 30 seconds - 1 minute

Sitting with shoulders stacked over hips, place one ankle on the opposite thigh. Gently press down on the working leg while gently pulling up on the working ankle. Hold, then repeat with the opposite leg.

Forward Fold

Good for: lower back and neck pain, improves mobility of the entire back

Hair and makeup by LORI WENGER.

Hold for 30 seconds - 1 minute

Standing with shoulders over hips and belly pulled toward the spine, begin hinging at the waist, reaching forward. This position can stop here or can continue by taking the hands all the way toward the ground. If moving all the way into forward fold position, relax the head, neck, shoulders and arms. Hang here, allowing gravity to provide the stretch.


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