We have all heard the term that “sitting is the new smoking.” Being largely sedentary and sitting a large amount throughout the day is detrimental to ones health for a variety of different reasons. This article won’t go over those entirely, but some of the dangers of sitting all day is decreased blood flow to the body, decreased muscle mass usage which leads to less strength, and overall increase in pain due to posture related issues. This article will outline some of the different strategies you can use to increase physical activity and hopefully decrease some of the pain postural related issues that comes with increased amounts of time sitting and being sedentary.
What Can You Do About Sitting All Day?
There are numerous ways we can offset some of the effects of sitting all day. Some of these are exercises designed to help us with posture and other weak muscles in the body. Other ways are behaviors that one could follow to hopefully improve their overall physical activity. We will look at five ways you can offset some of the effects of sitting, starting with 3 basic exercises to get you moving.
Exercises to Offset Sitting
Chin tucks are a great way to work many of the postural muscles in your neck area, which often get weak when sitting all day. For chin tucks you are going to sit up tall in a proper posture position. Next, you will simply bring your chin straight back into your neck, creating a “double chin.” Be careful not to start looking up to the sky and make sure that your chin goes straight back. The movement itself is small, but should provide some neck relief.
This is a funny name for an exercise, but ultimately helps to work up your whole body after sitting all day. For hallelujahs, you will move to the front of your chair, and slowly bend down to the ground until you touch it. After this, you will then reach up to the sky as high as you can, gently leaning towards your left and right to open up your shoulders and upper body.
One of the best things that you can do to improve circulation, mobility, and help get rid of some of your stiffness is by taking a 5-10 minute walk outside of where you are at. Another great benefit to doing this is that you will be getting out of your home, office, or area you have spent a large amount of time sitting in. This will improve your mental health by not feeling stuck inside all day. If you don’t have time or an area to go for a walk, simply marching in place is another great alternative to get moving.
Behaviors to Improve Physical Activity
Schedule Move Breaks
Scheduling move breaks is one of my favorite ways to gently implement more physical activity into your long day of sitting at a desk or chair. Move breaks simply involve having “breaks” throughout the day to actually get up and move. I know what you are thinking. “DUH.” The difference between these breaks, that I try to implement, are that you use specific triggers throughout the day to schedule them. As mentioned in the video, you could use every time you have a meal as a “trigger” for you to get up and move. Doing this, makes it a little easier to implement some activity, simply because you have that reminder with your activity you were going to do.
Doing Seated Activities Standing
Another recommendation you are probably thinking “duh.” This one is so true, though. Think about all of the different activities that you do in a seated position that you could do standing. As mentioned in the video above, you can look at your phone, eat a meal, and even watch t.v. all from a standing position. I am not saying that you should start hating your life and not enjoying eating a meal at your favorite chair, or neglecting to sit at a movie theatre. This is just another way to implement small, non-sedentary behavior into your daily lives.
These are a few of many great ways to offset the effects of sitting. Try a few in your daily lives and I bet you will notice a great improvement in no time!
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