- The Facts:
In our modern lifestyle, we are sitting too much and for too long periods of time. This level of sedentary lifestyle is not natural for our bodies and could lead to very serious health issues if we do not address this issue.
- Reflect On:
How could you be more active throughout your regular day to reduce the impacts of sitting too much? Can you make some of these simple excises a daily habit to help limit the damages of sitting?
If you are here and reading this, chances are you have a job that involves long periods of sitting, and most likely staring at a screen. This has become the norm in our modern society and because our bodies are designed to move, to stretch and well, basically to be used, sitting for extended periods of time is causing us some serious damage. Some people are going as far as to say that sitting is the new smoking.
Have you experienced those moments when you finally get up from a sitting position and your butt is completely numb? Excessive sitting causes your legs and hips to become tight and leaves your glutes completely inactive, which does nothing to strengthen these areas. Then there is the dreaded slouch over the desk and computer that could be ruining your posture as well.
Think about how our society was before the industrial revolution, stock market and even recently with the invention of the computer. Us humans were tending our own gardens, washing and hanging our own clothes, we didn’t have cars and were, by default, much more active than we are today. We didn’t even have couches to sit on at the end of the day or more screens, in various shapes and sizes to stare at whilst sitting. It is straight up unnatural for our bodies to spend so much time being inactive and we are starting to see the consequences.
However, having awareness is the first step towards change, and there are some simple ways that you can begin to undo the damage that is caused by sitting. So without further a due, here are 7 simple exercises you can do now to reduce the damage caused by sitting.
Sit Less & Move More
Prevention is the best remedy. By simply being aware of how much you are sitting, you can begin to negate its effects. Whenever possible stand up, go for a little walk around the office, perhaps a little stretch or plank while you’re at it. To remind yourself to do this you can set a timer to go off every 30-60 minutes.
Consider using a standing desk perhaps to keep you on your feet and activating your muscles for longer, although you will still want to ensure you are incorporating some movement, as standing for hours on end is not necessarily good for you and your body either. A friend suggested a great idea to me once, which was to drink plenty of water. This will force you to get up often, not only to get more water but to also relive your bladder, this sounds silly, but it totally works. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with staying hydrated!
Stretch Out Those Hips
If you are really tight, the following exercises may be difficult at first, don’t push it only go to your level of comfort. With time you will gain the flexibility to go deeper as it will get easier after a while.
Nothing like some good old-fashioned squats to engage your glutes and your legs. Stand up tall, have the feet about hip width apart and facing a little bit outwards, bend down so your knees are at about a 45-degree angle, come up and flex your glutes when you do. Repeat 10 times to start, increasing every time you do this.
This is a classic move that you may already know if you’ve ever taken a yoga class. If you haven’t — no sweat, it’s a fairly simple exercise. Stand up straight and bend over, place your hands in front of you on the ground and slowly walk them out. If you are on your tiptoes for this, that’s totally fine, you want your body to be in a “V” shape. Hold this pose for 10 – 15 seconds at first, then increase the duration as you get comfortable. To come out of this position, walk your hands slowly back to your feet than stand up tall. You may be able to eventually have your feet flat on the ground as you do this, but it may take some time to achieve this.
The plank position is great for whole body strength. Simply get into a standard push up position, or rest your elbows on the floor, ensure your back is flat, like a plank and hold for 20 seconds to start. Over time, you can increase the duration of this exercise. It is an excellent way to strengthen the core and gets your legs and glutes involved as well.
Lay on your back on the ground, bring your legs up so your feet are about 1 foot away from your butt, place your hands flat on the floor and begin to raise your pelvis off the ground. Repeat 20 times, ensuring to flex those glutes every time you lift up. As this becomes easier, increase the number of repetitions.
Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. To start, bring in your right knee and cross your foot across your left leg, hug your right leg into your body while sitting up straight. Hold this pose for 10 seconds then switch legs. As this becomes easier you can move on the
Start this exercise by finding something to hold onto for balance. Start by swinging your right leg backward and forwards as high and as far back as feels comfortable to you. Repeat 20 times then switch legs.
Next up is side to side leg swings. Keep holding onto something for balance and swing your right leg out to the side as high as is comfortable and then in front of you towards your left as far as you can. Again, do 20 swings then switch legs. You may repeat if you are feeling especially tight.
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