It’s increasingly common to spend the majority of our day sitting down. At the desk in the office, on the couch binging on Netflix, or even at a desk at home. This can lead to serious health issues such as obesity, stiff joints and lower metabolism.
Sitting down can also lead to a slouched posture, with shoulders slumped forward and neck and back bent at unhealthy angles. Stiff hips, ankles and knees are also a common symptom of prolonged periods spent sat down, as you don’t use these joints actively when a chair is supporting your weight.
If you do any kind of sports or weightlifting these stiff joints can drastically affect your performance as mobility is something that is part of any natural body movement. This is easy to test: look at a child picking up a toy from the ground. You will see a perfect squat: straight back, shoulders aligned and thighs at a 90-degree angle (or more) to the ground. Now you try. Can you achieve the same posture?
So what can you do to combat the damage of sitting down? Let’s go through some simple things you can do to help loosen up that body.
The most obvious way of engaging your body. Exercise helps to keep the blood flowing and joints to be loose. Both heavy training and light training will help you reach this goal. Gym passes can be found in many forms, and we suggest flexible gym memberships for optimal efficiency.
Sit down on a chair (yes, we know this goes against the goal of sitting less, but bear with us, here), place both feet firmly on the ground and then place one leg over the other so that your ankle rests just above your knee. Try to sit on the edge of your seat so that your bum is barely touching the chair. For the leg resting on your thigh, extend the knee into the air, and gently press down on it: you should feel your hip stretching. Depending on your starting mobility there may be some pain involved, which is fine – just don’t overdo it. Repeat with the other leg, and do this stretch every 30 minutes while sitting at your desk.
While this can be a bit more complicated and may involve convincing your employer to invest in employee health, working while standing up can have many benefits. You constantly engage your muscles as you stand, blood circulation increases and you get more focused. Get a standing desk with which you can adjust the height, or raise your computer screen so that it’s at eye-level when you are stood up. Start slowly, aim for 30 minutes of standing up per day, and increase the time every week. Before you know it, you will be stood up for the majority of your working day – much better for your posture and joints.
This is simple, instead of sending an email to a colleague, walk over there and discuss the topic in person. Take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a stop early to walk the rest of the way and go out for lunch. Instead of sitting down reading, listen to an audiobook or podcast while going for a stroll. There are many ways you can incorporate movement into your daily activities, and every movement helps.
I would love to have a standing desk but there's no way my company would buy them for everyone. So I just get up and walk around fairly regularly. Seems the easiest solution.
I have just done the crossed leg/sitting down/foot in the air stretch, And yes it did stretch my hip out.Good one to remember and easy to do.