Let’s face it, most of us spend our days sitting. Whether working at a desk, commuting to and from work, or relaxing on the couch at home, it’s all too easy to spend hours upon hours each day in a sedentary position. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking a break and sitting down for a while, spending too much of your day seated can lead to serious health complications. That’s why it’s essential to make sure you get up, move around regularly throughout the day, and do some stretches if you sit all day at work.
The Dangers of Sitting All Day
You might not think sitting all day is terrible for you. After all, how much harm can sitting do? Unfortunately, the answer is quite a lot. Research has shown that sitting too much time can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and even early death. And while you might only be able to partially avoid sitting all day (after all, most of us have to work), there are things you can do to mitigate the risks.
When you sit all day, your muscles start to tighten up. This is especially true for the muscles in your hips and lower back. Over time, this can lead to a muscle imbalance which can cause pain and stiffness not only in your hips and lower back but also your neck, spine and shoulders. Taking just a few minutes here and there to do some simple stretches can help alleviate this problem.
All that sitting can lead to poor posture, which strains your spine and can cause headaches, neck pain, and upper back pain. Stretching your chest muscles and shoulder blades will help alleviate some of this tension and improve your posture.
When you sit all day, your circulation slows down, which can lead to varicose veins, blood clots, or even deep vein thrombosis (DVT). To avoid these problems, it’s essential to get up and move around every 30 minutes or so and do some simple stretches to get your blood flowing again.
One of the best things you can do is to make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day to move around and stretch your muscles. Even getting up and walking around for a few minutes every hour can make a big difference. Additionally, doing specific stretches if you sit all day at work can help reduce the risk of developing particular health problems.
For example, stretches that target your back and shoulders can help relieve tension headaches caused by poor posture, and stretches that focus on your legs can help improve circulation and prevent varicose veins. Try incorporating these five stretches below into your daily routine to relieve tension, improve flexibility, and reduce pain caused by sitting all day long!
1. Chest Opener
This stretch helps to open up your chest and relieve tension in your shoulders and upper back. To do this stretch:
- Stand in a doorway with your arms extended out to the sides at shoulder level.
- Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your chest.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat 2-3 times.
2. Seated hamstring stretch
This stretch targets the hamstrings and the muscles on the back of your thighs. To do this stretch:
- Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent to 90 degrees.
- Straighten one leg and place your heel on a stack of books or another raised surface.
- Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat 2-3 times on each leg.
3. Calf raise stretch
This stretch helps to relieve tension in your calves, which can become tight from sitting all day. To do this stretch:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and press down into the balls of both feet to raise up onto your toes.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and then lower back down slowly.
- Repeat 2-3 times.
4. Neck releases
If you spend all day looking at a computer screen, you may feel the tension in your neck and shoulders. To release this tension:
- Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder and place your right hand on top of your head to gently guide it down further.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
- You can also do gentle circles with your head to loosen up the muscles further.
Check out this video on Facebook for further instructions.
5. Shoulder shrugs
This is a simple yet effective way to release tension in your shoulders and upper back.
- Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and rolling your shoulders towards your ears as far as they will go before relaxing them back down again.
- Repeat 10-15 times for best results.
Sitting for long periods is something we all have to do from time to time, but if you find yourself seated for most of the day, it’s essential to take some precautions. Make sure you take breaks regularly throughout the day to move around and stretch your muscles. Doing some specific stretches if you sit all day at work can also help reduce your risk of developing certain health problems down the road. So next time you feel restless at your desk, take a break and get moving! Your body will thank you for it later.