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Sunday, April 7, 2024

3 Thoracic Spine Stretches to Counteract Sitting All Day

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Do you spend most of your day sitting or hunched over a computer or laptop? According to a reports, sitting all day may actually be killing you, or at the very least, could be taking years off of your life. When you sit, especially for long periods of time, your body slowly becomes more hunched over. Your internal organs get compacted and are forced to operate in less than ample space. Over time, the spine begins to weaken because of the unnatural stress placed on the joints. Hip muscles and joints begin to shorten and become tight, making standing up straight
less comfortable. Ultimately, the body’s blood circulation decreases due to lack of movement This is partially why legs and ankles will also swell during long stationary periods. The point is
alarmingly clear: if you sit for long periods of time during the day, you could actually be doing your body some real harm.Too much sitting can cause high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Studies show that sitting too much can likely increase your risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease or heart attack. Too much sitting can make it hard to lose weight even if you exercise. If you sit too much at work, you might not be as happy as you could be. In one recent study, employees who sat for longer than six hours each day were more likely to have anxiety or depression, according to the Association for Psychological Science
The part of your spine known as the thoracic region resides in the upper part of your back at around the chest level. The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae; your ribs are connected to it to help protect vital organs. When muscles in your thoracic region become tight and painful, performing certain thoracic spine stretches may help ease your discomfort.
These are simple foam rolling exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home that can help strengthen mobility and improve your posture. These workouts take only about 15
minutes or less. All you’ll need is a foam roller or mobility ball.

Glute Smash

If you’re sitting on your butt all day, you need to give it some love. Most people don’t realize that rolling out your glutes will help you loosen more than just your butt muscles. You’ll also loosen your upper hamstrings and help remove some pressure from your lower back.

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How to do it:
Place a foam roller on the ground. Sit on the ball with one hamstring on the roller. Slowly roll along the length of your hamstring. When you reach the glute, rotate outward to apply more pressure to the glute. The more you sit up, the more pressure you can apply to the foam roller. You can also cross the opposite leg over to apply more pressure . Contract and release the muscle (basically squeeze your butt cheek and release it) for two minutes. Keep your legs bent with the knees out to the side.

Hip Flexor

When you sit for long periods of time, the hip muscles (including the quad and hip flexors) slowly shorten and become tighter. Tight hips make it really uncomfortable to stand up straight, and the tight joint puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on the lower back. This tightness also disrupts good posture and is a common cause of lower back pain. Weakened hip flexors can also increase the risk of foot, ankle, and knee injuries especially among runners. Stretch out and open up the hips by focusing on the hip flexors. Flexible hip flexors are going to help you get a better butt. Not only that, having flexible, strong hip flexors will help you get better results from many abdominal exercises. Tightness in this area also often goes hand-in-hand with anterior pelvic tilt, i.e. where your butt sticks out (more than it should) and, if there’s too much tilt it isn’t great for your posture and as a result can contribute to back pain. Not to mention a negative effect on your athletic performance and just about every activity you do. Getting flexible in this area can help to correct anterior pelvic tilt, especially when combined with glute and core work, giving you much better posture.

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How to do it:
Laying on your side, put the foam roller on your outer thigh area near your hip. Roll the foam roller and knead it into the muscle tissue, fascia and tendon between your knee all the way up to your hip. Continue back and forth.

T-Spine Smash

This simple movement helps counteract the “dreaded hunchback syndrome” so many people get from hunching over their computers every day. The great thing about this is part of this movement passes over the shoulders so you are able to help release tension that has built up throughout the week.

How to do it:

Lay on a foam roller with the roller placed in the mid-back. Cross the arms as far across the body as possible like giving yourself a hug. Tighten your core section. Feel the stretch in your back as you hold the position and roll the foam roller down to your lower back and back to between your shoulder blades. Raise the hips up to apply more pressure.You can lean slightly to either side to apply pressure to the sides of the back. If you find a sore spot, lengthen the application of pressure, and focus more attention to it. Repeat the movements until muscles
feel more relaxed and kneaded.

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