With the rise of computer-based tasks at work and the hours of study we did to land those jobs, it’s no wonder our musculoskeletal systems have been so affected by sitting. Even the growing popularity of cycling has a lot to answer for – again with the sitting. Never fear though, I’ve got some easy, effective exercises you can do to right your body balance.
They say that sitting is the new smoking because of all the cardiovascular exercise you’re not getting when you’re sitting for hours on end, and the musculoskeletal system can be just as badly affected.
Working as physios, we’ve noticed that everyone presents with tights quads these days and don’t even get us started on the back issues. The problem is that sitting really pulls people shoulder forward.
Most people slouch (even me sometimes) at their desk and few people get up to stretch periodically, even though they know they should.
Here are my go-to exercises to counteract prolonged sitting:
- Chariot pull using gym equipment or the reformer
- Row with twist using a resistance band
This combo has the effect of tightening your weak muscles and stretching your tight ones.
Unfortunately, even most gym routines don’t do enough to strengthen your posterior chain, which are the group of muscles at the back of the body (hamstrings, (gluteus maximus, spinal erectors, trapezius and posterior deltoids).
Complete this series to engage your posterior chain before working out:
- Straight leg bridge – 2 sets of 20
Elevate your feet on a bench or exercise ball and lift your pelvis, squeezing your glutes and activating your core.
- Modified dead lift – 2 sets of 20
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, weight up the bar to your specifications and squat slowly as low as you can go (preferably so your bum meets your heels), maintaining a flat-back position.
- Backward walk – 10 x 20 metres*
*What it says on the tin. Careful, though! Ensure your path is clear.