Sitting is a huge part of modern society, as I’m sure we are all aware of. If we’re not sitting for work, we’re sitting to watch something on Netflix. With the average person spending upwards to 15 hours a day sitting, it’s no question that all the inactivity has a bad effect on your body. This explains why your chair might be killing you.
Let’s briefly go over what happens after some long hours of sitting;
– Your muscles become tighter, especially your hip flexors,
– Weaker legs and glutes,
– Say goodbye to good posture,
– Your NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis) decreases.
Tight hip flexors means bad posture, which leads to other things like a bad back.
Weaker glutes and legs can cause a variety of problems. Tight flexors and weaker glutes practically go hand in hand. Your pelvis is already out of alignment and these imbalances are adding to that.
More imbalances means more vulnerability to your posture. Have you ever seen colleagues hunched over towards the computer screen? Yup, that doesn’t help the posture and leads to why your chair might be killing you.
Your NEAT is the amount of calories you burn by just existing. When you are active, your neat is higher.
A lot of people sit for work, but some also try to reverse the effects by adding lots of stretching and foam rolling.
But then there are the people who don’t reverse anything and are unconscious to what’s actually happening to their body?
So, what can you do while you’re at work, to help yourself be in the most optimal physical state?
Stretch using your chair, in whatever limited space you might have and whatever time you have throughout the day.
Stretch # 1: Hip Flexor Stretch
Like shown in the picture, bend your right leg and place the right foot on the chair, while the left leg stays straight and angled back. Take your left arm and stretch it overhead. Take your right arm and place your that hand on your right hip or leave it neutral. You should feel a nice stretch in your hip flexors. In order to fell the stretch, inhale and then as you exhale shift your hip or weight slightly forward. Hold this for 20-30 seconds/side before switching. Do this 3x on each side if time permits.
Stretch # 2: Seated Glute Stretch
Start by sitting close to the edge of your chair. Put your left leg and ankle over your right knee or front thigh. Once in place inhale and then exhale while hinging over. (Hinge, not bend) Ideally aim to bring your chest toward your shin and calves. You should feel a stretch in your left glutes. Hold this for 20-30 seconds then switch sides. 3x on each side.
Stretch # 3: Seated Back Stretch
In an upright position while seated on a chair, pick a side you want to twist toward. First inhale and then twist towards that side while exhaling with an upright torso. As you keep both hands toward the one side, hold this position and continuously look over that shoulder for 10-15 seconds per side. This is more to relieve a tight lower back. . 3x each side.
Stretch # 4: Seated Groin Stretch
While sitting on a chair, spread your legs apart about 1 foot wider than both your feet. Aim to have your knees and toes pointing outward to a 45 degree angle. Use your hands or elbows to gently spread and stretch the legs apart a bit more. Inhale and then as you exhale lower your torso forward to get a deeper stretch. You should feel this right in the inner thighs. Hold this for 20-30 seconds. Then repeat for 2 more times.
Stretch # 5: Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit upright at the edge of your chair and straighten out one leg like shown in the picture. Slightly bend your other leg while maintaining that straight opposing leg. Inhale and then exhale as you hinge (not bend) over with your chest leaning forward until you feel a nice stretch in your back of your legs – otherwise known as your hamstrings. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat to the other leg. 3x each side.
These stretches can be done anywhere, even without a chair. Use a bench or couch even. I also encourage you to do a few of these at home. Give yourself 5 minutes before bed and release the tension throughout your tight areas.
Feel free to comment on this post if you would like to see some other posts similar to this one. If you got value from this, don’t forget to like and share. Let us know if your chair might be killing you?
If you need help with improving your flexibility, bettering your posture and additional core work – contact us for a free fitness assessment, movement screen and body diagnostic analysis.
by Shahab Nilgiri, Milton Personal Trainer