Five simple exercises for people sitting all day

July 20, 2021

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Five simple exercises for people sitting all day_lunges_AF

Sitting all day isn’t the healthiest way to live, but counteracting the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle shouldn’t mean you have to work out constantly at the gym or deadlift crazy amounts of weight. Here are five simple exercises that will help you ease pain, strengthen muscles, and reverse the negative effects of too much sitting!

Relieve back pain with a forward bend

We tend to carry a lot of tension in our shoulders and back, especially if we’re sedentary for a large chunk of the day. One of the best ways to relieve this tension is to regularly stretch your back and shoulder muscles with a simple forward bend. It’ll also help you relieve the lower back pain that comes with tight hips.

To do a forward bend:

  • Start by standing with your legs hip-distance apart;
  • Squeeze your glutes and dig your heels into the ground to give yourself a solid foundation;
  • When you’re ready, relax your upper body and slowly lean forward from the waist.
  • Try to keep your legs straight, but allow a gentle bend in your knees if it’ll help you bend lower. Relax your neck while lightly tucking your chin to your chest.

Breathe deeply and let the weight of your head and shoulders help melt the strain away!

Retain your flexibility with wall-assisted runner’s lunges

Spending a lot of time sitting can cause your hip flexor muscles to slowly lose their flexibility. This leads to back pain and exercise-related injuries the next time you hit the gym. To help keep your hip flexors in good working order, treat them to some wall-assisted runner’s lunges.

  • Stand parallel to the wall, with one hand lightly placed against it for support;
  • Take a large step back with one foot, going into a split stance;
  • Bend your knees and lower towards the floor until the back knee is a few inches from the ground and the front knee is at a 90-degree angle;
  • Keep the front knee behind the toes by lowering straight down;
  • Push up through the front heel back to the starting position to complete one repetition.

For best results, complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions for each leg.

Dangle your stress away with a bar hang

It doesn’t matter if it’s staring at a computer screen all day, or sitting behind the wheel — our spines can take a serious beating throughout the day.

One of the best ways to relieve the tension in your spine is by letting your body hang freely. This allows your muscles all the way from your shoulders to your hips to completely stretch out. It also helps to decompress spinal discs, realign shoulders, and even look and feel taller due to better posture!

Hang on to a pull-up bar with both hands and slowly relax your shoulders and back one vertebra at a time. Allow your body to hang freely and relax as much as possible — be careful not to relax so much that you forget to hang on! It’s ideal to hang for 1-2 minutes, but if you’re just starting out, shoot for 30 seconds.

Strengthen your core by holding in plank 

Sit-ups or crunches were once the gold standard for tight abs and a tiny waist. These exercises have more recently fallen out of favour because they are very hard on your back and spine. And even in the best of conditions, they only target a few muscle groups. Planks are a low-impact exercise that target your entire core, which strengthens the muscles you use to move each day.

  • Come down onto your hands and knees;
  • Hold yourself up on your elbows and cross your arms so each hand grasps the opposite elbow;
  • Carefully extend your legs so you’re supported on the toes of your foot as if you’re about to do a push-up;
  • Keep your back straight, and your abdominal muscles pulled up and in.

Many people find this exercise quite difficult, especially when they’re first starting out. But keep at it, and you’ll be reaping the benefits of a solid core in no time!

Stay fit with a squat 

There are many reasons that squats are so popular. Squats target the muscles in the legs, lower back, and core while helping you strengthen your muscles and burn fat. There are also a variety of different squats for different skill levels that will help you engage a variety of muscle groups. Here is how to perform a basic squat.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing slightly outward;
  • Your arms should be straight out in front for balance;
  • Bend the knees as you push your hips backwards;
  • Be sure to keep your back straight and your torso upright!

You should feel like you’re trying to sit down in an invisible chair. Once your knees have reached a 90-degree angle (or slightly lower) push back up through the balls of your feet and strengthen your legs. If you’re new to squats, aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

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