"It has nothing to do with sports," says physical therapist Murphy Halasz. "It has everything to do with sitting too much."
That's because sitting usually looks like this: hips flexed, shoulders rounded in, chest drawn and head dropped. Staying seated like this for hours at a time, like at work, can make your muscles and joints feel "stuck" in that position.
Of course, there are sports-related reasons that you may feel stiffness in these areas, but they're not nearly as common of culprits as sitting, stresses Halasz. Exercising moves these muscles and joints through a range of motion—sitting does not. For that reason, sitting fares far worse for body stiffness than any sport ever could.
This stretch, shown below, opens the chest and shoulders and puts the joints in the opposite angle than they're usually in when you sit. It's effective because it takes all those areas of the body that are flexed (or shortened) while seated and extends (or lengthens) them. Not only is this move incredibly simple to do, but it just so happens to feel amazing.
How to do it
Stack two piles of pillows on a bed or on the floor—the higher, the better. Lie back with the pile of pillows supporting your buttocks, back and shoulders, and extend your legs and arms (palms up) off the pile into a star shape. Let your head rest back. Breathe deeply and hold this pose for three minutes or more.
Make it harder: For a deeper stretch, use a stability ball to do a bridge. Stretch over the ball in the same way you would stretch over a pillow stack, with belly facing up. Hold here, and breathe deeply.