Sitting has become the normal today. More people sit and do not move than ever before. We sit to work, sit to travel, sit to eat and even sit to relax. On average, the office worker can sit up to 14-16 hours of today. That is huge. Our bodies were meant to move and movement encourages brain activity and can even help with memory. (link to brain and exercise).
With today’s lifestyles, more and more people are sitting for prolonged periods of time. This can deactivate the muscles of the legs as in the gluteal and hamstrings. It dis-engages the core muscles and makes us slump, which puts undue stress on our spines upper and lower, causing back pain and stiffness. It slows our digestion down due to the lack of movement. Sitting is just straight up bad for us. Some have even coined the detrimental effects of sitting to our modern day version of smoking and its negative impact on our health.
Good news is that even if you have been sitting for hours on end for years, a few simple exercises can be done on a regular basis can start to undo that harm you have been causing. If you do these five exercises you can regain your full range of motion, feel looser, and avoid pain in your knees and lower back. Who knows, you might even feel like dancing!
1. Glute Bridges
This performed simply by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Next, simply raise your butt off the floor, so that your hips and body form a straight line. Then lower yourself back down. That is one rep. Now perform three sets of 10-15 reps. To make it harder you can add a march when at the top position but make sure you don’t let your pelvis drop.
2. Couch Stretch/Hip flexor
Next stretch can be a little tricky at first, but once mastered can really help open the hips and undo the tightening in the front of the hips that sitting all day brings.
First simply place one leg on the floor and the other leg on the couch, so that your knee is touching the back of the armchair. Now from this position stand up tall through your torso, engaging a posterior pelvic tilt and then forward. You should feel a stretch in the front of your thigh of the leg that is bent on the couch. Try and hold each side for a minimum of 3 minutes 2-3 times per day.
To increase the stretch and difficulty you can firstly raise your arm on the same side that is of the leg that is on the couch and reach like you are trying to get something of the roof. Next you can bring the front foot that is on the floor up onto the seat of the couch and try and raise your torso and then your arm again if possible. Try to maintain a neutral spine and don’t let hyperextension of the low back/lumbar region creep in.
3. Grok Squat
This involves simply standing shoulder width apart and squatting down. Simply putting bum to grass or sitting as a baseball catcher does with heels on the ground. Trick with this is getting your balance right or your center of gravity right so you don’t topple over.
Key features to look at are to keep your weight on your heels and your heels on the ground and then lift your chest up. Try and not turn your feet out too much but start like this and arm to get them straighter. You should feel the stretch in the hips, knees, back, groin, ankles, and calves. Try and spend time in this position each day. A good challenge is the Ido Portal Squat Routine (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbozu0DPcYI) or his 30/30 Squat Challenge (This is where spend 30 minutes in total each day in a Grok Squat for 30 days and so what benefits behold you at the end of the 30 days)
These are great to open the hips, and warm the body up. They have been around for a long time and are still great. Simply swing your leg back and forth gently in front and behind you for a count 20 each side. Also try swing the leg forward and back to help loosen the anterior and posterior capsules of the hip that tighten when sitting. If you have trouble with balance, hold onto something to help you out so you don’t fall over.
5. Fire Hydrants
These are called fire hydrants cause simply they do look like a dog is peeing on fire hydrant.
To do this exercise, simply you have to be on all fours (hands and knees) and raise your bent leg to the side as high as you can go without a spinal twist and then lower it down. That is one rep. You should feel your hips and butt are working. Try and do 3 sets of 10-15 reps on each side.
Of course the best exercise is to get up from your sitting position every half hour or so, and walk around. So if you find yourself sitting for extended periods, try these exercises a few times a week and see the improvements in your overall health.
If you would like more information or would like to book an appointment at Neurohealth Chiropractic – please call the clinic on 9905 9099 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.