You’ve probably heard about the recent studies highlighting the harmful effects of sitting for long periods of time. When you commute to work, you sit in your car. When you’re at work, you sit in your desk. When you get home from work, you sit down at the tale to eat dinner or you flop down on the couch to watch T.V. and relax. According to research, all this sitting is taking a dangerous toll on your health.
Sitting too much limits the amount of calories you burn, which can cause you to gain weight. Sedentary behavior has also been linked to more than 30 chronic diseases and conditions, including a 112% increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes and a 147% increase in heart disease risk.
If you have an office job, or any other job that requires you to sit for long periods of time, you might also suffer from stiffness and back pain. Over time, that pain can become worse. It can end up effecting your ability to be active and exercise, which can negatively effect your health.
While some have resorted to a standing desk, others are making a conscious effort to get up and walk around every once in a while, to help get their blood pumping. There’s something else you can do to help reverse the damage done by sitting for hours each day. There are five simple exercises you can perform each day to regain your range of motion and avoid lower back pain:
1. Glute Bridge
- Lay down on your back with your knees bent. Keep your feet flat on the floor.
- Raise your butt and hips so your body forms a straight line, then lower yourself back down. That’s 1 rep.
- Do 3 sets of 10 reps. If this is too easy, add a weight and hold it on your thighs while you perform the exercise. This exercise will work your hips, glutes and abs to help restore your range of motion.
2. Couch Stretch
- Place 1 leg on the floor and the other leg on the couch. You knee should be touching the back of the couch.
- Flex your abs and but while slowly raising your torso up so you are standing tall.
- Hold this position for about 5 minutes, then switch legs.
- This exercise is convenient to do while you’re watching T.V. It will work your legs to undo years of sitting damage.
3. Grok Squat
- To perform a grok squat, simply get into a squatting position.
- Keep your feet on the floor and your back straight while squatting as low as you can go and hold the position.
- This exercise will stretch your legs, back and groin to help prevent stiffness.
4. Leg Swings
- Hold onto something for balance then swing your leg back and forth as high as it will go.
- Start by moving front to back, the switch to side to side.
- Try 20 swings of each kind to loosen up your muscles and joints and help prevent stiffness.
5. Fire Hydrants
- Get on all fours and raise your leg out to one side as high as it will go, while keeping it bent.
- Lower your leg to perform 1 rep. You should feel this exercise working your hips and butt.
- Perform 10 reps on each side, three times to work your lower body and improve stability.