If you spend a lot of time sitting, whether it is for work or for leisure, then you will need to counteract this by keeping active, and performing some exercises in between sitting down for long periods of time.
For your own health and wellbeing, you will need to break up the day by walking, exercising, stretching out your muscles and straightening out your posture.
Let’s face it, we’re all a little guilty of sitting down on our phones, computers, or watching TV for too long. When you sit down for extended periods of time, you may begin to suffer from lower back pain, hip pains or other aches in your joints.
It is even more important to exercise if you have a job where you sit at a desk all day, as your legs can seize up, or you can suffer from improper posture problems.
Nowadays, more people than ever before are working from home, and spending long working hours sitting at a desk, on a table, or lounging on the sofa for long amounts of time, many days a week.
Whilst working from home can be a lifesaver for some people, it can be easy to slip into a rut, and forget about moving, exercising and getting your blood flowing.
Why you need to exercise if you sit for long periods of time
Sitting down or lying down for long periods of time is actually very bad for your health. Sitting raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and slows down your blood flow and metabolism.
By limiting your mobility, there is less demand on your blood circulatory system, and so the heart activity will slow down, and your blood circulation will be much slower.
Not only this, sitting over a desk can give you bad posture, increase the risk of back pain, and cause your hip flexors to shorten, which will in turn bring you lower back, upper back, and hip pains.
This is why remaining active, and having regular breaks to move or exercise whilst you are sitting down or working sitting down is so paramount to your health and wellbeing.
If you sit down for long periods of time, then you will want to try out one of our 5 exercises to do when sitting for too long!
5 Exercises to do when sitting for too long
To keep your body healthy, and your mind clear, try doing some of these exercises if you sit down for too long.
Hip Flexor Release
If you sit down for a long time, then you will need to stretch out the hip flexors as these can get very tight, and may cause you pain and discomfort after some time.
In addition, your waist muscles can become compressed from sitting for too long. To counteract this, try placing your left hand on the top of your desk or chair, and move your right foot backwards until you are in a small lunging position.
Then, place your back heel back, and point your toes slightly. Next, you are going to need to bend your front knee until it is above your ankle, and keep your back leg straight.
Then, you must lift your right arm up over your head, inhaling as you do so, and exhaling as you bend to the side on your left.
Next, press the right hip forwards, and you will feel your hip flexors releasing. Hold this position for 3 inhales and exhales, and repeat with the other arm and leg.
To strengthen the back muscles, and stretch them out, you will want to stand with your back against a wall, with your feet a hip width apart, but keep them about 8 inches from the wall.
Then, bend your knees a little, and push your entire back against the wall, engaging your core and keeping your lower back flat as you can. Touch the back of your head against the wall, and keep your head facing forwards.
Next, raise your arms up to about your shoulder height, with your elbows bent to 90 degrees, and keep the backs of your hands and elbows against the wall.
Then, you can slide your hands and elbows up the walls, inhaling as you extend them completely, and exhaling as you bring them back down to the starting position. Repeat 5 times.
Downward Facing Dog
After sitting for long periods of time, you will need to lengthen the spine. To do this, we recommend trying the downward dog position. First, stand up with your feet a hips width apart, and bend over.
Press your hands down onto the floor at a shoulder width, and keep the feet apart. Bend your knees, keep your head down, and lift up your hips.
This should lengthen your tailbone, and relax the crown of your head, which will decompress the vertebrae after sitting hunched over all day.
Try sitting tall in your chair, with your feet on the floor at the hip’s width apart, and lift through your spine, and rotate your body, twisting, whilst your core is tight. You may have to hold onto the chair to help you twist your body.
Hold this position for 5 seconds, once twisted on one side, and then do the other side. Repeat this motion 5 times to stretch out and move the back muscles.
Half Kneel Stretch
To do this one, you will need to start the exercise in a half kneeling position. Keep your lower back flat, and tilt your pelvis, whilst inhaling. Then, move your body weight forward whilst exhaling.
It is important to keep your back straight whilst you shift your body weight, and make sure you do this on both sides.
Top tips for good posture whilst sitting at a desk
If you want to ensure that you do not get bad posture, or any back pain from sitting down for too long, then we have a few tips for you.
The best thing you can do is ensure that you are sitting correctly, so that you do not begin to feel any aches or pains in your joints and muscles.
To do this, you are going to want to keep your spine as straight as possible. Make sure that you have a supportive, and properly adjusted chair, with a cushion behind you to keep your back supported at all times.
You will also want to keep your feet flat on the floor, at hip-width apart, and never cross your knees or ankles, or lean to one side. This will keep your weight evenly distributed, and will prevent any pains in your hips.
In addition, you should always relax the shoulders, and keep your elbows in when you type, so that you are sitting at a 90 degree angle.
For the best practice, you should try alternating between a sitting and standing desk, or try having a treadmill underneath your desk to keep your body moving and blood pumping during those long hours!