At this point, everyone knows sitting all day isn’t good for your health. But all kinds of jobs still require people to sit for prolonged periods of time. Whether it’s good for your health or not, you still need to get paid, so you just walk it off and tell yourself it’s just the way it is.
Why Sitting All Day Actually Really Matters
You don’t have to put up with stiffness and back pain from sitting. Over time that pain can affect your ability to run, play sports, and exercise and negatively impact your health.
- Just Three Hours of Sitting Can Damage Your Blood Vessels
- Improving your health by ditching desks and chairs
Lucky for you, even if you’ve been sitting for hours on end for years now, a few simple exercises done on a regular basis can completely undo that harm. If you do these five stretches you can regain your full range of motion, feel looser, and avoid pain in your knees and lower back. You may even feel like dancing.
5 Exercises to Stay Limber and Avoid Back Pain from Sitting
- Glute Bridges
Lay down on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Next simply raise your butt and hips so that your body forms a straight line. Then lower yourself back down. That’s one rep. You should try to do three sets of ten. If that’s too easy, you can add a weight and simply hold it on your thighs while you do the reps.
This exercise is great for your hips and glutes, and as an added bonus, your abs!
- Couch Stretch
This one might be a little tricky at first, but it’s well worth the trouble and is very convenient to do while watching television.
Simply place one leg on the floor, and the other on the couch, so that your knee is touching the back. Then flex your abs and butt and slowly raise your torso up so that you are standing tall. Hold that position for about 5 minutes and then switch legs.
To push it to the next level, you can bring your foot on the floor up to the seat of the couch and try to raise your torso to a neutral position again. This will be tough at first, but can potentially undo years of sitting.
- Grok Squat
This simply involves getting into a squatting position with your feet on the floor, your back straight, and your butt about as low as it will go. Think baseball catcher position. You should feel the stretch through your legs, back, and groin.
- Leg Swings
You may have seen someone doing this at the gym and wondered what they were up to – they were loosening up.
It essentially involves holding something for balance and then swinging your leg back and forth as high as it will go. You can start by going front-to-back with each leg, and then side-to-side. Try 20 swings of each kind.
- Fire Hydrants
They’re called fire hydrants because you will look like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. (Trust me, it’s less awkward than it sounds.)
To do the exercise, simply get on all fours and raise your leg out to the side as high as you can while keeping it bent. Then lower it down. That’s one rep. You should feel your hips and butt working.
Of course, the best exercise is to walk around every half hour or so, but I know that’s not always possible. So if you find yourself sitting for hours on end, try to do some or all of these exercises a few times a week.
To learn more about undoing the damage of sitting, check out The Art of Manliness.
*Article originally appeared at The Hearty Soul.