You may spend a lot of your time at the gym and work out as much as you possibly can every day, but sitting all day at work or school will affect your body greatly. Think about it, we can spend at least an hour a day working out or being active throughout the day. We then get to work or school to sit for about 8 to 9 hours a day. That’s not including when we sit for lunch or on our commute. Between this sitting period, we are probably maintaining a terrible sitting posture.
Spending too much time sedentary like watching television on the couch, driving and sitting at work are linked to different diseases like cancer, obesity and diabetes. Though the effects of a sedentary lifestyle can be seen every day. From lower back pain, headaches, neck strain, hunched shoulders and stiff upper back are just a few of these side effects. This problem is not that easy to fix though. Most of us are required to sit in front of a computer all day and the terrible posture tends to become second nature. Without us recognizing the body is able to adapt to this posture and leaving us vulnerable to muscle and joint pains.
We’ve put together some exercises and tips that can help counter the effects of sitting all day. Read on below.
Limit the Time You Spend Sitting Down
As they say prevention is key, though some of us will struggle with this. Most people work in front of a desk eight hours a day. Giving them at least an hour of break that we usually spend sitting for lunch or going for a short smoke break. At the end of the day, we go home and sit in front of the TV resting. Most of our day we spend mostly sitting or lying down. We can limit the time we sit down by activating our hips and glutes by simply walking or standing. If it’s possible, ask for a standing desk at work. This can help keep your muscles activated. Though, standing for an extended period can add a pressure to the joints. If standing desks are not your thing, try to take a five minute stand and walk break every 45 minutes. This simple movement can be small but can be incredibly helpful for your mobility and muscles.
Tight hips are one of the side effects of sitting too much. Exercises that are designed to help loosen tightness of the hips. Include hip stretching to your warm up routine too. Start by performing a hip roll counter clockwise for 20 to 30 counts and perform it again clockwise. Next, bend your knees place your hands on your hips. Thrust your hips forward, side to side and back. Repeat this process for a minute.
Stretch the hips, glutes and hamstring with the help of some leg swing. Sitting all day can also affect the muscle of the leg and glutes. Begins this exercise by standing near a wall or bar. Place one of your hands (opposite of the active leg) on top of a chair, bar or wall for balance. Start swinging one of your legs forward and back as far as you can. Do not overdo this, stay in the area where you are comfortable. Perform 20 swings per leg. Perform this again, but instead of forward and backward, do it side to side. Perform it 20 swings per leg. If you still feel some tightness in your leg, add more swings.
The Grok squat is close to a baseball catcher’s stance. Simply squat down until your glutes are touching your ankles. Keep your heels firm and your back straight. Hold this position for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. You will feels some heat in your hamstrings, core, groin, lower back, Achilles tendons and quads due to the stretch. If you’re too stiff this stance may take some time to master. Just try to perform it every day, you’ll feel the lightness in your leg, back and hips in just a few days.
Try out these simple exercises to help reduce the negative effects of sitting all day. Another exercise you can try is yoga or Pilates. Yoga can help with stretching and mobility.