Most people sit for eight or more hours a day, and the effects of sitting for so long are bad for our overall health. Prolonged sitting can lead to many health issues, including back pain and cardiovascular problems, while leaving us feeling sluggish and unfocused. A great way to combat this sedentary lifestyle is to find ways to stay active throughout the day and take a break from sitting.
Build Active Habits and Avoid Sitting
1. Use a Standing Desk
The standing desk is a fairly new work trend that’s rapidly gaining momentum in the workplace as an alternative to sitting. Many studies show that by alternating between sitting and standing, you may be able to avoid some of the health risks associated with sitting all day. Some of the benefits include blood circulation improvement, released muscle tension, and improved focus at work. If you’re willing to try standing desks at work, here’s an easy way to make your own standing desk.
2. Focus on Your Posture
Your seated posture can make a huge difference in how you feel while sitting throughout the day. Slouching can put tremendous strain on your neck, shoulder, and back muscles, which can lead to fatigue, tension headaches, and back pain. One of the most common conditions caused by poor posture is Upper Cross Syndrome (UCS). This condition is typically characterized by pain in the back, neck, and shoulders, but can also cause other issues such as headaches, restricted upper body mobility, and chest pain.
In the video below, Airrosti’s Dr. Casey Crisp discusses how UCS develops and what you can do at home to reduce tension and prevent UCS.
3. Walk When You Can
There are plenty of opportunities to walk around during the day. If you typically sit at a desk for work, remember to take frequent breaks to walk around and stretch your legs. Use technology to keep track of your activity levels by logging exercises and setting reminders to get up and move. Keep track of the steps you’re taking using a step-tracking app or watch, and set a step goal for yourself as motivation to move. Making these minor adjustments to your daily routine will add up, and your body will start to feel healthier for it.
4. Get Up and Stretch!
Stretching daily is important, but most most people think of stretching as a warm-up or post-workout routine. Instead, make stretching a daily habit. Take frequent breaks to stretch to help relieve tension, improve posture, and reduce fatigue. To develop a successful stretching routine, start small by taking three stretch breaks during the day to start: one in the morning, one at noon, and one in the evening. Set a timer to remind yourself it’s time to get up and stretch.
Try incorporating these stretches into your new routine to get started:
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling, or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.⠀
🔸 Stand with your chin tucked in and raise your arm to complete elevation.⠀
🔸 Place your hand behind your head by bending the elbow.⠀
🔸 Put your other hand on the elbow of the bent arm.⠀
🔸 Pull towards the opposite side until a stretch is felt in the triceps.⠀
🔸 Keep your chin tucked in.
🔸 Complete 2 sets of 30-60 second holds.⠀
Thoracic Rotation Stretch
🔸 Sit on a chair with your back in neutral position (slightly arched) and your chin tucked in.⠀
🔸 Turn your upper body to one side moving at the middle back.⠀
🔸 Increase the stretch by pulling yourself with the back of the chair.⠀
🔸 Return to the initial position and repeat the exercise.⠀
🔸 Complete 2 sets of 5 repetitions, twice a day.⠀
Hip Flexor Stretch
🔸 Begin in a half kneeling position. ⠀
🔸 Engage the glutes to tilt your pelvis backward, flattening your low back and stretching the front of the hip. ⠀
🔸 If a greater stretch is needed lightly press your hips forward keeping your back flat and body upright. ⠀
🔸 Complete 3 sets of 1-minute repetitions, twice a day.
Standing Quad Stretch
🔸 Stand in front of a chair and hold on to it with one hand.
🔸 Grab the top of the ankle with the hand on the same side of the leg being stretched and pull your foot towards your buttock until you feel a gentle stretch in front of the thigh.
🔸 Hold the stretch, keeping your lower back neutral.
🔸 Complete 2 sets of 60-second holds, twice a day.
Sit Less, Move More, Relieve Back Pain
Our bodies are made to be active and mobile. Try the above tips, and if you’re still feeling restricted by pain, schedule an appointment with Airrosti. Our team of experienced providers can quickly find and treat the root cause of your pain, so you can go back to living your best life pain free.
View our medical disclaimer here.