Millions of people around the world have a job in which they sit most of the day. All of them have experienced those moments when they get up from a sitting position and their butt feels numb and hips feel so tight that they have to lean forward at the waist just to walk. Excessive sitting leaves our hips and legs tight and our glutes inactive.
When you sit, your body slumps, your metabolism slows, and you…spread. First, chairs and couches lead to trouble for the simple reason that they support your body weight. With a chair holding you up, your ankles, knees, and hips stiffen; your muscles weaken; your shoulders round forward; and your back hunches. Even worse, your circulation slows, which depresses your metabolism.
In a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers tracked nearly 13,000 women for 12 years to find out how much health damage sitting could do over the long term. Yes, years spent on the couch or hunched over a desk was linked to a greater risk of weight gain, heart disease, and an earlier demise—but only for women who sat still. When the researchers separated the women into three groups—low fidgeting, moderate fidgeting, and high fidgeting—they discovered that the most active sitters completely dodged any increased health risks. These women sat as much as 7 hours a day, but by continually tapping their fingers, bouncing their legs, and, the researchers suspect, hopping up frequently, they were able to avoid the health impacts of lounging.
While there are many ergonomic chairs that can help prevent such aches, stretching is an easy, cost-effective way to loosen your muscles throughout the day. It can positively impact your work life, and which exercises you can do at your desk.
Stretching will refresh you. It’s good to take small breaks throughout the day in order to revitalize your mind.
We all suffer from the post-lunch drowsiness. Stretching increases blood flow to tight joints and muscles. Therefore, stretching can put a little pep in your step when you’re feeling drowsy.
Below are some simple stretches and exercises that will undo the damage to your hips and butt caused by sitting:
The One Arm Hug
Take one arm across your body and place it on the back of your opposite shoulder. Now, use your other arm to push back on the elbow. Feel this stretch on the outside of your arm and shoulder for 30 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times each arm.
Office Chair Back Stretch
While sitting, reach both hands behind your back and around the office chair. Arch your back and move your chest forward for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Reach for the Sky
Interlock both hands above your head, palms facing the ceiling. Sit straight up, then push your palms upward and elongate your spine. Feel this stretch on your back for 10 seconds. Make sure to keep your shoulders loose and relaxed. Repeat 5 times.
Stand up and try 20 calf raises. Keep your legs straight and raise yourself by rolling up onto the ball of your foot while tightening your calf.
Hamstring Chair Stretch
Straighten your legs and fold your body towards your toes. Make sure to keep your back straight. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times.
Seated Lat Stretch
Raise one arm above your head and bend it slightly across your body. Grab your wrist with the opposite arm and gently tug down. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times per arm.
Seated Spine Twist
Cross one leg over the other, and then twist your body toward the leg that is on top. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times each side.
Seated Tricep Stretch
Put one arm up and bend your elbow so that the underside of your arm is facing outward. Next, use your opposite arm to push your elbow backward so that you feel a stretch in your triceps. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 3-5 times per arm.
Press your palms together in front of your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Next, push the backs of your hands together for a reverse stretch and hold for another 15 seconds. Repeat 5 times.