Today, most jobs make you sit in an office or in front of a computer screen the entire day. Even once your working hours are over, you probably do the very same thing at home – sit in front of a PC or a television screen. The problem is that so much sitting has a negative effect on your body. Chances are you have already felt some of these effects. You have probably experienced a numbness after you get up from your perpetual sitting position. Your hips feel tight and you have to lean forward to be able to walk. Also, too much sitting makes your legs and glutes inactive. Who knows when you might need those, right? You might find yourself in a situation where you have to chase down a purse snatcher. Even if you are an athlete or fancy yourself to be one, it is necessary to focus on these groups of muscles when you are exercising. Simple stretches and exercises will prevent some other injuries that might appear when you pursue some more recreational activities. It has also been determined that sitting for eight hours a day is a sure way to shorten your life expectancy, which is why you should definitely start taking better care of yourself. If you spend at least some part of your day in a sitting position, be sure to take a look at the following ways you can undo the damage it is causing as we speak.
The obvious thing you can do is sit less and do more standing or walking. This can be done at home, when you can make your own schedule. You can easily fit in a one-hour walk every single day. You can at least walk to work, or at least walk partly to work. Try using your weekends do to different active pass-times, such as walking, jogging, swimming, etc.
But while you are at work, you probably can’t take so much time off and go stretch out a bit. What you can do is ask your boss for five-minute breaks every 30 to 45 minutes. This can be more than enough to take a little walk or do some of the exercises you can find below. You just do not want to make your muscles inactive for so long and these five-minute breaks can be quite helpful.
This is a great stretch many athletes use before they exercise. It is designed to loosen up your hips, hamstrings and glutes. You need no equipment for it and the only thing necessary is something to hold on to in order to keep your balance. You start with some forward swings. Swing your right leg forwards and backwards for around 20 times, depending on your current state of fitness. After 20 repetitions, switch legs. Around 3 series with each leg are more than enough. After that it is time to do side-to-side swings. Instead of swinging forward, swing your right leg to the side as much as you can and then in front of you towards your left. Do the same amount of repetitions you did with the forward swings. Make sure you don’t swing too far, as you might end up pulling a muscle, and causing more harm than good.
Table pigeon pose
For this stretch you are going to need a table on which you can rest one of your legs during the exercise. You can also use a couch or a sofa if you feel more comfortable that way. You should start by placing one of your legs on the table with your knee bent at 90 degrees. You can place your hands on the table as well, in order to keep your balance. The first thing you should do is lean your body forward and stay in that position for around 60 seconds. After that, lean your body to the right and stay in that position for the same amount of time. Repeat it again on the left side. Once you did all of these, switch legs and repeat it all once again. If you are having some knee problems, you can place a pillow under it during the exercise. Again, don’t over strain yourself.
This exercise does wonders for both your hips and glutes. The only thing you will need for it is a plastic or padded barbell (or basically anything that has the similar shape). Lie on the ground and hold the barbell across your hips. Try to raise your glutes as high as you can. Squeeze your glutes until they are completely aligned with your hips. 2 or 3 series, with 10 repetitions each is more than enough. Once you have been exercising for some time you can add weights to the barbell for a stronger effect. Do this exercise 2 or 3 times a week, there is no need for any more than that.
If you think you have done too much sitting, chances are these exercises won’t be enough. In that case you should talk to professionals who can help you undo all the damage sitting has caused you. A personal fitness trainer is someone who can tell you exactly which exercises you should do, according to your current level of fitness and the pain you might be feeling. This is something you should definitely consider, especially if you have felt pain while doing any of the above mentioned exercises. Tailoring your exercises to your goals and fitness levels is always the best option, as no two people are the same, and what works for me, might not work for you.
Apart from the negative effects we have mentioned earlier, too much sitting can lead to obesity which can cause you some further health problems. Not to mention that most of the back problems people experience are caused by too much sitting. That is why you should make sure you try out all of the above mentioned exercises or get assistance from a personal trainer. Don’t let your job or your sedimentary lifestyle affect your health. Start moving today, and your body will thank you.