If you’re like most people, your job probably entails sitting down for a big portion of the day. If you work in an office you definitely know how sitting down all day makes your body feel. If you’re like a lot of us that end up sitting hours on end, you know that it can create some serious tension in the body. Sitting all day also puts critical strain on your hips and is one of the major reasons people end up suffering from hip problems later on in life.
Even if you don’t work a desk job, its more than likely you’re sitting more than you should. Think about it. How much time do you spend perched on your derrière? We sit in our cars, we sit in front of the computer, we sit at school, we sit around on our days off….You don’t have to be a nine to fiver to have your body damaged from sitting down. It can happen to anyone, and more people suffer from body damage caused by sitting than they’re even aware of.
If you’re sitting more than you should, especially if you’re stuck behind a desk all day, you’ve got to stretch out your body and get a little exercise throughout the day. It is literally crucial and will not only help to undo the damage of sitting, but it will prevent some serious diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Yes, you read that correctly. A review was recently published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that outlined the serious health risks sitting poses, with cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease topping the list. If sitting all day didn’t make you feel bad enough already, this should be a serious wake-up call of why it’s so important to get up and get moving.
There is a cure for the aches and pains that come along with sitting all day long. Stretching is vital, and stretching often is key. There are a number of exercises you can actually do right at your desk that will help keep your body healthy and tension free. There are also exercises you can do at home that will really benefit and give your body what it needs to undo all the damage that sitting will do.
Exercises to Undo the Damage of Sitting
Most of the exercises listed below can be done easily at the office. You don’t need much room for any of them, they are simple, and will greatly benefit the way your body feels.
Leg swings will get the blood flowing back to your hips, hamstrings, and glutes. Start with a forward leg swing by standing in a spot where you’ve got room to move a little. Hold onto your desk or chair for support and begin by swinging your right leg back and forth as high as you can for 20 reps. Switch to your left leg and repeat. You can also swing the legs side to side, which will add some extra benefit and get you moving in all directions.
Our necks tend to get pretty tense from staring at screens all day. Taking the time to periodically engage in some neck rolls will really help to relieve this tension and keep it at bay. You can even sit right at your desk when you do this. Simply roll the neck around clockwise about a dozen times and then roll it counterclockwise the same amount. You’ll instantly feel better and find that doing this throughout the day helps to seriously alleviate tension in the neck, shoulders, and head.
Circulation tends to slow down when we’re not moving, and sitting all day makes a lot of blood stay sitting stagnant (kind of like us) down in our feet and ankles. Taking the time to slip off your shoes and roll your ankles around both to the left and right about twenty times on each foot during different intervals throughout the day will feel great and help get blood moving to one of the spots that needs it most.
If you’ve sat at a desk for long time, you know the damage this can do to your hips. Hips tend to become sore and need to be stretched out to prevent further damage later. Hip pain is no joke and doing everything you can to prevent it is highly recommended. Here is where lunges come in. Lunges help dramatically to stretch out hips. All you need to do is stand up next to your desk, get into as low of a lunge as you comfortably can, and hold for about ten seconds on each leg. Do this a few times throughout the day, and you’ll definitely notice an improvement in the way your hips feel.
Beneficial Yoga Poses to Undo the Damage of Sitting
Yoga seems to be good for just about everything, and it can greatly help to undo the damage of sitting. If you can’t do yoga at the office, take these poses back to your house and do them at home. These stretches will truly give your body what it needs to undo the damage of sitting and make you feel your best.
Downward Facing Dog
If there is only one yoga pose you do during or at the end of the day, let downward facing dog be it. This pose with the funny name stretches out legs, hips, back, shoulders, and hamstrings. It also opens the heart and helps to improve circulation. Definitely a must for anyone who wants to undo the damage of sitting.
This simple yet powerful pose will help to help stretch out tired shoulders and open up the chest. It is also great for stretching the legs that have been folded at the knee all day.
Child’s pose is a relaxing pose that will help stretch the ankles, thighs, and hips. This is also a great pose for melting away stress and tension.
This is a great pose to open up hips and offer them the stretch they need to stay active and functioning well. Pigeon pose really offers your hips the flexion and extension they need after sitting all day.