12/31/2015 11:25 EST | Updated 12/31/2015 11:59 EST

True North Fitness Guide: Stretches To Get You Through The Afternoon Slump

Before you know it, it's the afternoon and you realize that you've been hunched over your desk all day.

Your shoulders, neck and back are achy, and you feel as though your brain is devoid of oxygen, leaving your mind cloudy and unable to focus. You may start craving a sweet treat or yet another cup of coffee to give you a much-needed boost. But don't reach for the java just yet!

We've already gone over energy-boosting stretches to add to your morning routine, so now we'll walk you through simple stretches that will get you over that afternoon slump. You can even do them at your desk!

  • Shoulders & Neck (similar to ear to shoulder stretch)
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    Sitting up straight on a chair, plant your feet on the floor. Gently tilt your head to the right side toward your shoulder. Place your right hand on the left side of your head and gently press down to deepen the stretch. Hold for about 30 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side. Next, clasp your hands behind your head and very gently press your chin down toward your chest. In order to target the back of your neck, it's important to keep your spine as straight as possible.
  • Chest Opener (similar mountain pose)
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    Sitting up tall, clasp your hands and reach them up above your head. Gently arch your back, while maintaining the feeling that you are getting taller and longer. Keep breathing in and out through your nose as you hold this stretch for about 10 seconds. Now, gently arch your body to the right, hold for 10 seconds, and then to the left for another 10 seconds. Repeat as necessary throughout the day. Another great option is to clasp your hands behind your back, as you open your chest toward the ceiling.
  • Hip & Glutes (lotus preparation)
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    Start by sitting tall at the edge of your chair with both feet on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Now without rounding your back, reach your body as far forward as you can. Hold for about 20 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
  • Hip Flexors (similar to high lunge or warrior pose)
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    Reach your right leg forward into a lunge, dropping your left knee toward the ground without making contact. Keep your upper body straight and tall as you hold the lunge for about 15 seconds. Use your desk or the back of your chair for support if needed. Repeat on the other side.
  • Lower Back (similar to the seated forward bend)
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    Reach your legs out in front you, rock back on your glutes and curl your body forward while keeping your gaze just past your toes. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat.

Tip: Your lower back may get tense when your hips and hamstrings are tight, so make sure you are stretching them out regularly. Also, if you find that your lower back is frequently bothering you, try sitting on a small wedge or block. It will tilt your pelvis forward and go a long way to alleviating back pain.

Do these stretches one after the other or throw them in throughout the day whenever you need a bit of an energy boost.