There are a number of health concerns linked directly to sitting for long periods of time which include obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — as per research. There's medical evidences that too much sitting overall and for prolonged periods also increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
If you are sitting for a long period of time continuously, for any purpose - such as at a desk for work , driving for longer durations, or in front of a TV screens — the after effects can be detrimental to your health.
An analysis reported that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to death due to obesity and smoking. But there's a good news too...another analysis reported that people who were actively indulging in some form of physical activity or exercise were able to counter the effects of prolonged sitting.
In this article we will discuss about the 5 exercises to counter sitting all day to minimize the negative effects of prolonged sitting on muscles & health risks of sitting at a desk all day:
Seated Chest Opener Exercise
Sitting tall with feet on floor hip-width apart, hands interlaced behind head and elbows wide. Lift through the spine and look up to the ceiling, taking the weight of the head back into the hands. Return. Close the elbows, then gently round the upper spine to stretch the back of the neck. Repeat five times.
Downward Facing Dog Exercise
Press into your hands and feet, hands shoulder-width, feet hips-width. Bend your knees and lift your hips. Lengthen your tailbone up and release the crown of your head down. This allows your spine to lengthen and your vertebrae to decompress after sitting all day.
Half-Kneel Stretch Exercise
Place the left knee on the floor or a mat, directly under the left hip, and place the right foot in front of the right hip so that the right knee is directly over the right ankle and the right hip is in a position of 90 degrees. Place both hands gently on the right thigh to help maintain a straight, tall spine. Lean forward into your right hip while keeping your left knee pressed into the ground, restricting pelvis to rotate to the forward.
Dangling Yoga Exercise
From standing, bend your knees and hinge forward at your hips. Shift your weight into the balls of your feet and drop your head heavy to release the muscles that support the neck and low back. This is a great way to get fresh blood to the brain and release compression and stagnation from sitting.
Spinal Twist Exercise
Sitting tall with feet on floor hip-width apart, lift through the spine and rotate keeping your core tight. You can use chair arms to gently assist the twist. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat on the other side. Repeat five times.
Some tips for better sitting posture while working on a desk-
- keeping your feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart when you sit, and avoid crossing the knees or ankles for better alignment.
- Keep the spine as straight as possible (against the chair or a cushion) and maintain length at the back of the neck.
- Relax the shoulders while you type, and to keep your elbows in towards your ribs at a 90-degree angle.