You may have heard “sitting is the new smoking”. I’m not ready to say sitting for most of the day is just as bad as filling your lungs with smoke, but here are some of the problems that may be associated with prolonged sitting.
Movement impairment because of:
- A loss of flexibility and mobility
- Stiff joints and tight muscles, particularly in the back, neck, hips, and knees
- Poor posture and body alignment
When this happens, we tend to move even less because moving doesn’t feel so good. This, in turn, can cause weight gain due to inactivity, which puts us at greater risk for:
- Heart disease
- Certain forms of cancer
- Joint pain
If you sit all day because of your job, just going to the gym 2-4 times a week isn’t enough to keep you from feeling the effects of prolonged sitting. You need to be proactive daily, at work or at home, to make the greatest change. Here are some strategies you can use to improve your posture, decrease your pain, and burn more calories.
- Arrange your work station so you don’t have to look down with a forward flexed neck. Try raising your monitor or laptop a little higher by placing a stack of books underneath or purchasing a monitor stand riser.
- Sit up straight in your chair and strive to keep your spine neutral as much as possible.
- Set an alarm to go off every 15 minutes to remind you to stand up and stretch or walk around.
- Use a headset or speaker for phone calls so you don’t have to hold a phone to your ear.
- Get more sleep! If you’re tired at work, you will more likely slouch in your chair.
- Perform the following exercises 3 or 4 times a day
Here are two mobility drills we do at Active Life Fitness that you can do at home or in your office on a daily basis. Perform 10 reps of each, slowly, pausing at the top of the stretch:
Stand with your head, shoulder blades, and butt against the wall with your feet 3-6 inches away from the wall. With your palms facing one another and your elbows straight, lift your arms over your head and get as close to the wall as you can without arching your back or bending your elbows
Back to Wall Shoulder External Rotation
Remain in the same position against the wall. Move your elbows out to the side, just below shoulder height and against the wall. Begin with your palms down and while keeping your elbows on the wall and wrists straight, rotate your palms towards facing forward getting as close to the wall as you can without discomfort.