Are you one those people who has the habit of sitting on the couch in front of the TV for hours before going to bed? Or perhaps your job requires you to sit in a chair for hours in a day? Do you regularly spend a lot of time in your car?
Sitting for a long time every day can be quite destructive to our health if not taken seriously. It can actually lead to health problems like metabolic disorders, high blood pressure, obesity and back pain.
When you decide to move around or even sit up straight often, your abdominal muscles usually make the effort to keep you upright, but when you slump in a chair, your abdominal becomes unexploited and being in this position for a while will take its toll on you.
Also, repeated extended sittings and sitting positions put the hip flexors in a much more tightened and shortened position therefore leading to them becoming overworked and stiff.
Is there a way to fight off such effects of extended sitting and especially if it’s a bit hard for you to change your working conditions, environment or daily schedule at the moment?
Making small movements is one of the best ways to start. Move around often. Also, get up and stretch once in a while. Try out these simple yet effective yoga inspired stretches. For best results, do them at least twice a day by holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
Cobra Pull; Target: Lower Back, hip flexors (muscles that get very tight and stiff from being bent in a seated position)
This stretch opens the chest, strengthens the back and stretches the hip. Lie facing down with your body resting in one straight line. With your arms at shoulder level, press your forearms into the floor and pull your shoulders back as you raise your head up and bend your back backwards.
Sit legs crossed; Target: Butt
This stretch help your butt relax and maintain its flexibility. From a seated position, cross your left ankle over right thigh. Use your left hand to apply a bit of pressure to the inside of your right knee, then slightly lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your left butt.
Now hold this stretch as you inhale. When you exhale, try to apply a bit more pressure as you lean an inch further forward into the stretch. Switch sides and repeat.
Lunge with rotation; Target: Spine, shoulders and legs
Maintain the flexibility of the spine, build more leg and shoulder strength at the same time. From a standing position, take a big step forward with your right foot into a lunge. Make sure your right knee does not extend past your toes.
Place your hands on either side of your right foot. At the same time, just lift your right arm towards the ceiling and turn your gaze upwards. Switch sides and repeat.