Our bodies are made to move. In our modern sedentary lifestyle, many people are encouraged to sit for prolonged periods. Excessive sitting causes your legs and hips to become tight and leaves your glutes completely inactive. Have you ever experienced that moment when you stand after prolonged sitting and your behind is completely numb? Add to this a slouched posture from looking at a computer (as hard as you try, if you are sitting for more than 20 mins, the big postural muscles in your back relax and everyone slouches). As soon as you slouch, you have to look up to view your computer screen which will in turn also tighten your neck.
Having awareness of how detrimental this can be for your health is the first step towards changing your habits. Here are some ways your can help your body:
1) Sit less and move more– prevention is the key. If you can take note of how long you have been sitting for (you may even like to set a reminder every 30-60 mins) then stand up, go for a walk, move around, and reset your posture. A vari-desk is even better where you can do your work sitting or standing, varying between the two can be very beneficial.
2) Squats are good because they engage your glutes and legs, start with 10 and increase from there.
3) Downward dog—you would know this stretch if you have ever been to a yoga class. You basically make an upside down V shape with your body, having all your weight on your toes and hands. Hold for 10-15 secs and increase as it becomes more comfortable.
4) Plank—this is good for whole body strength, particularly your core which helps your back. Aim to hold for 20 secs and increase over time.
5) Bridge—this strengthens your glute muscles. Lay on your back with your knees bent up. Lift your bottom off the ground so that your body is in a straight line. You can either sustain this position for 20-30 secs or repeat the lift 20 times and increase the reps as you get stronger.
Try some of these in your day to improve your strength and flexibility and decrease the damage caused by excessive sitting.