Imagine how active most of us would be if such things as a computer were never invented.
Our working lives would have us on our feet and coupled with our household tasks such as washing or gardening, we’d be physically active and in a state of motion for most of the day.
Approximately 80% of all jobs today have very little physical activity involved and according to studies, sit down jobs increase the risk of early death from multiple causes.
Sitting for long periods is unnatural and damaging to the human body.
There are several ways sitting causes serious damage. Sitting for long periods can cause your hip and legs to become tight and weakens your glutes, not to mention that slouching over a desk easily leads to bad posture.
So how can we reverse this trend, or even just reduce the damage caused by sitting?
Here are 7 easy tips and exercises to get you stretching and moving in those specific areas where sitting down tends aggravate the most.
1) Stay On The Move
If you’re glued to a computer for most of the day then consider standing at your desk instead. Use a timer to go off at certain intervals to remind you to change your position from sitting to standing. Perhaps use a standing desk – so long as you’re not standing still for long periods and even take a walk around the office every 30-60 minutes…just keep moving.
Stand up straight, move your feet about a hip width apart. You want to crouch down to the point where your knees are at a 45-degree angle and try to maintain a straight back. Do 1 round of 10 to begin with, then take 1 minute rest, and repeat another 2 times.
If you’re unsure of how to do this, watch this demonstration.
3) Downward Dog
Yoga enthusiasts need no introduction to this one. This exercise will help stretch the lower legs, lower back and hamstrings. Start in a kneeling position with your hands touching the floor in line with your shoulders. Push your body up from the floor so your hands and feet are now only touching the ground. Your body should be in a “V” shape and you should hold this position for 10-15 seconds to begin with and increase this time as you get familiar with this pose.
Place your hands on the floor, slightly wider than a shoulder width apart (as if you’re about to perform a push-up). Make sure your head is in line with your back and push your bodyweight up. You want to keep a steady flow of breathing and avoid curving your spine or neck so that your body is in a straight line.
Check this video out to see how it’s supposed to be done:
5) Spinal Twist
This is another common Yoga pose that can help relieve lower back pain and could even aid digestion.
Sit on the floor with your legs out. Choose to bring either your right or left knee into your body while maintaining a straight posture. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then do the same with your other leg.
6) Glute Bridge
A very simple floor exercise that can improve lower back pain. So lie back on the floor and bend your knees with your feet flat on the ground. Have your hands flat on the ground, raise your pelvis upwards keeping your back straight while flexing those glutes. You should aim to repeat this 15-20 times.
7) Leg Swings
The clue is in the title for this one. Find something to hold onto. It could even be your office desk (if you don’t mind having a few colleagues as your audience that is!)
Bring your leg forward and then backwards as far as you can stretch. Repeat this around 20 times before switching legs. Additionally, you can also bring each leg outwards 20 times each which should ease any tightness in your legs.
Pay attention to make sure you’re doing these exercises correctly and you can counteract many of the downsides of our sedentary way of life.