5 Exercises to Undo the Harm of Sitting at your Desk
Luckily, however, there are some things you can do to counterbalance the damage that prolonged periods of sitting can do to your health.
Here are five ways to undo the harm of sitting.
Do Some Yoga
Yoga stretches and detoxifies your body, helping you to better cope with mental and physical strain. When you target the areas stressed by sitting, such as the neck and back, you can alleviate the pain and tension associated with long periods of inactivity. The best pose for getting out the kinks is also one of the simplest—downward dog. You should also try mountain, forward fold and cat and cow.
Try a Thoracic Bridge
Bad posture is one of the worst side effects of long-term sitting. When you’re sitting at your computer, you tend to hunch your shoulders, which takes your body out of proper alignment. Address this problem by learning how to do thoracic bridges. They help address hip, shoulder and back problems.
Never heard of a thoracic bridge? This video nicely explains how to do one and the benefits of performing them regularly. If you feel a pop in your back, don’t panic. You’re actually doing it right, and you’ll feel the tension seep out of you during your next sitting session.
Embrace the Crab Hip Hold
It sounds like a funky dance craze, but the crab hip hold is another exercise that can benefit those who sit for long periods of time by strengthening the muscles that do not get used while you’re sitting in a chair, including the glutes and abs. All you need is a bench or stair to prop your feet on. Watch this video to see how to do the move.
Perfect the Quad at Wall Stretch
You may be noticing a theme here: Stretching exercises are really your best bet to counteract long-term sitting. Another great exercise is the quad at wall stretch, which Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Dara Torres recommends. It targets your hip flexors and quads. Find a great tutorial on how to do this exercise here.
Being sedentary is the root problem of sitting. Even if your job requires that you sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day or drive for long periods of time, you can afford a 60-second break every 20 minutes to move around. Take a quick trip to the coffee room, walk to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing her, or just do 30 jumping jacks. You don’t need to log a major cardio session, but you want to break up your sitting enough that your body gets a break. Set a timer if you need to and make sure you never go longer than 30 minutes without at least standing up.