How To Reduce The Negative Effects Of Sitting
In our current circumstance, you may have been spending more time working from home. That means, more time sitting in front of a computer screen conducting virtual meetings, helping your kids with their school work, and video chatting with your friends and family. Have you wondered what all that sitting does to your posture? Let's take a look at the effects of sitting all day and ways to remedy that situation so you can feel better.
The Effects of Sitting
The entire body can be affected when you spend too much time in a sitting posture. We typically hunch over a keyboard and computer screen which draws the shoulders forward. This may create a strain in the neck, round the upper back, and tighten your front shoulder muscles and chest. In a sitting position, your core muscles typically relax. This can weaken your abdominal muscles as well as put extra pressure on your lower back.
Further, your gluteus muscles deactivate when sitting for long periods of time. This can result in what some call "dead butt." Technically called "lower cross syndrome," the gluteus medius muscle connections weaken. This decreases muscle engagement in your backside as well as lead to numbness due to lack of blood circulation.
Your hip flexors are also affected by the chronic sitting posture. This is a muscle grouping that is near the top of your thighs. They are responsible for activities like running, walking, and kicking. But when in a sedentary position from sitting, they have a tendency to tighten and lose their flexibility.
It is important to take breaks from sitting in one place for too long. Take time to get up and stretch between meetings and phone calls. To further relieve the negative effects of sitting, you may want to turn to some daily exercises using some convenient sports equipment.
Made from a solid rubber material, a trigger ball is a convenient tool designed to relieve pain and muscle tension in hard to reach places in your body. The objective is to stimulate trigger points in your body to help them re-activate. They are very good to relieve muscles after an active workout at the gym and can also be used to help muscles fire when they've been underused.
This is a handy device that is used for myofacial release. This is the connective tissue in the body that can get bound up due to injury, surgery, overuse, or even underuse. The foam roller is effective at releasing the facia of the body to increase mobility and flexibility.
This is a thin elastic band that can be used in many forms of exercise. It is used to create resistance in the targeted muscle group to achieve forced contraction which can increase strength.
Latex Loop Band
Another form of the resistance band is the glute band. It is a wide strip of latex, like a large rubber band, used to engage your hips and gluteus muscles. By wearing the band around both legs and performing specific movements, it stimulates the muscles of your legs, hips, and glutes. The action re-activates muscle fibres that can go inactive after sitting for a long period of time.
Exercises to Perform
Tight Hip Flexors - Trigger Ball Release
You can use a firm trigger ball to help release the tight fascial tissue build up in your hip flexors. Start by lying on top of a trigger ball to apply the appropriate pressure to the front of the hip. The ball will rest just below the hip crease on the hip flexor. Ease your full body weight onto the trigger ball; you may experience some discomfort and minor pain especially if this area is particularly bound up. The idea is to hold your body in place without much movement so the pressure can break up the connective tissue. Work the one side for 20-30 seconds before moving to the other side. Perform this exercise each day to monitor your progress. You will soon experience less pain, more mobility, and improved flexibility in your hip flexors.
Rounded Shoulders - Trigger Ball for Stretching
You can use the same trigger ball to help stretch and release tight shoulders. While lying on your back, place a trigger ball under your shoulder near your trapezius muscle. This is where tension tends to build up. Slowly extend your arm up toward the ceiling then behind you; repeat the movement 5-10 times. This motion will release the restricted area allowing for greater mobility in the shoulder and neck region. Your shoulders can become tight and feel "stuck" when sitting at a desk most of the day. This exercise can be performed on both shoulders each day to relieve that tension.
Weak Back - Foam Roll Release
Use a foam roller to activate a tired and weak upper back. Lie on the floor with the foam roll placed along your upper back. You can simply lie over the foam roller to release tight muscles or perform a gentle rolling action to help break up any tissue that is causing the stiffness.
"Dead Butt" - Glute Band Stretch
Chronic sitting can cause your gluteus muscles to deactivate or lessen muscle fibre engagement. To re-activate these muscles, use the glute band to target a complex muscle grouping: hips, thighs, and glutes. All of these areas work in conjunction with each other to stimulate muscle firing in your legs.
Stretch an elastic glute band around your thighs. Lie on your side on the floor with your knees bent. Lift the top leg away from the other. The band will create resistance so the muscles of your leg will flex. Repeat this motion 5-10 times on both sides so that your outer hips, gluteus medius muscles, and inner thighs can regain their strength and stamina. Performing this exercise daily will counteract the inactivity of the leg complex which weakens when not stimulated.
Timing for Results
A simple 5 minute practice using these handy devices each day will give you rapid results. Take note of your posture, muscle engagement, mobility and flexibility as a baseline. Perform these exercises over the course of 5 days. Compare your results to your initial state. You will see and feel a change in your body.
It is important to give your body relief from chronic sitting since it can be detrimental to your whole system. With these products and exercises, you can counter these negative effects and experience a positive change in how you feel.
Check out our Mobility and Activation Guide for some tips on how to use our products.