With many of us now (still?) working from home, there’s been a tendency to move towards a sedentary life. This often includes sitting all day in front of a screen. Whether working on a laptop, watching a TV show or sitting behind the wheel driving all day, these activities result in many of us sitting for 8 to 11 hours per day or more.
Prolonged sitting can lead to arthritis and joint pain. Our joints get nutrition from the blood supply. When we are seated, not much blood flows through our joints. This can lead to unhealthy weight gain, Increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular issues, or even psychogenic issues.
How do I counteract sitting all day?
Our body is designed in a way to keep moving. After a tiring day at work, many of us don’t want to move, much less exercise. But that’s okay. You can do five simple exercises while working to counteract the effects of sitting all day. You can perform Sit and Stand, Chin Tucks, Hip Stretchs, Bruegger’s exercise, and Shoulder “W”s.
Sit and Stand is a simple exercise that engages your core and trunk.
- Get up from your chair and do a regular sit and stand position.
- Cross arms on your chest.
Chin Tucks are perfect for forwarding neck posture and rounded shoulders.
- Sit in a neutral position.
- Your back should be anatomically straight.
- The neck should be in the midline with the shoulder.
- Move your chin inward and outward.
Shoulder W’s can help stiff and tight shoulder muscles from working long hours while typing or driving.
- Sit in a neutral position on the chair. (Can also be performed in a standing position).
- Your back should be in a natural curve.
- Raise your elbows, and the hands should be at the level of your ears.
- Extend your back and shoulder blades backwards.
Hip Stretches are excellent for stretching hip flexors that “shorten” after hours of sitting in a chair.
- Put your leg on a chair.
- The knee should be on the seat pan.
- Put both of your hands on waist.
- Flex with standing leg.
Bruegger’s exercise can ease the stiffness in your upper back, traps, and neck.
- Stand up from your chair
- Pull both arms behind your back
These exercises are simple to remember and don’t require much time. You can perform each exercise 2 or 3 times a day. Walk a few steps into the office and get up every 20 minutes. Simple changes in daily routine can help you prevent long term disorders.
Joseph Rendina is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and owner of Iron Health in Briarcliff Manor, Peekskill, and Ardsley. You can reach him at 914-488-5763 or at www.ironhealth.co.