Rehab Specialist Mike Reinold, provides the following article to make sitting not so bad for the body:
Do you sit all day? Don’t worry you are not alone.
Sitting throughout the day, and a more sedentary lifestyle in general, has dramatically increased over the last several decades as desk jobs have become more popular and our devices have taken over as our form of entertainment.
The media loves to tell you that “sitting is the new smoking.” This is backwards in my mind, and something I’ve discussed in detail in a past article sitting isn’t bad for you, not moving is.
In the article, I listed 3 things you should do if you sit all day to stay healthy:
- Move, Often
- Reverse your posture
For those looking for some specific exercise, here are 5 great exercises to perform to combat sitting all day.
5 Exercises You Should Perform if You Sit All Day
I’ve been talking about the concept of Reverse Posturing for years. The concept is essentially that we need to reverse the posture that we do the most throughout the day to keep our body balanced and prevent overuse.
Sitting involves a predominantly flexed posture, so doing exercises that promote the posterior chain would be helpful. These will depend on each person, but if I had to pick a basic set of exercises these would be the 5 exercises to combat sitting all day.
The first exercise is for mobility of your thoracic spine. This is the portion of your back that becomes the most flexed while sitting all day. This is probably the biggest bang for you buck exercises in my mind:
True Hip Flexor Stretch
The second exercises is another mobility drill, this time for the pelvis. We always perform mobility drills first to maximize range of motion. This exercise is called the true hip flexor stretch, something I termed several years ago after seeing so many people do this stretch poorly.
This exercise will help prevent your hips from getting too tight, as well as put your entire spine in a better position.
Now that we’ve done a couple of mobility drills, let’s try to reinforce a few movement patterns to reverse your sitting posture and activate a few select muscle groups.
The first is the chin nod, which is great for the neck muscles and forward head posture. Many have heard of the chin tuck exercise, but the chin nod exercise is a little different in my mind.
The next exercise builds off the chin nods, and now combines the chin nod posture with retraction of your shoulders. This will help turn on your posterior rotator cuff and scapular muscles all in one drill.
Lastly, we want to focus on the glutes and their ability to extend the hips, and taking some pressure off your low back. This glute bridge exercise, in combination with the above true hip flexor stretch, will be a great combo to help with your overall posture and core control.
How to Integrate These Exercises into Your Day
An easy way to start and keep it simple is to perform each of these 10 times. These should take less than 5 minutes to perform and will make a big impact on how you feel throughout the day.
Many people ask, “how many times a day should I perform these?” Or even, “do I need to do these every day?”
You don’t need to do these every day. Just on the days that you sit… 🙂
But seriously, remember these are 5 exercises you should do if you sit all day, so doing them at the end of each day to reverse your posture is a great idea. Many people who sit for a really long time like to perform them during the day as well.
As you get comfortable with them, you may find that certain ones help you feel better than others. Feel free to add repetitions to those as needed.
Written by Mike Reinold, PT
Looking to make sitting not so bad,
Dr. Phil Kotzan, DC