Simple Moves Reverse Harm From Too Much Sitting
I’ve warned you previously about the dangers of too much sitting. As a reminder, research has shown that too much sitting is linked to disease and an earlier death. Plus, you’ve probably noticed that when you sit for too long, you just feel bad. You know what it’s like to stand up and find that your butt has gone numb and your back is stiff.
In today’s article I’m going to share with you some tips for reversing some of the harm of too much sitting. These simple moves can restore mobility and greater ease to your legs and back.
Prevention vs Cure
Of course, as I’ve mentioned previously, the best thing you can do is to avoid sitting for so long in the first place. The moves that I’m going to share with you can help you to feel better and restore some health in your body. But they can’t necessarily reverse all of the harm of sitting for long hours years on end.
So as a recap of what I’ve shared with you previously, here are some tips for prevention:
- Take frequent breaks from sitting. Aim to stand and walk for a few minutes every hour. Research shows that taking frequent breaks do more than just boost your health. They also improve your creativity and cognitive function. So you’ll work better if you take more breaks to stand and walk.
- If you work at a desk, consider a standing desk as an alternative. Standing uses a lot more muscles than sitting, and it also allows for better blood flow.
- Walk when possible instead of driving.
- Stand or do some sort of movement if watching television.
- When having a conversation, make it a walking conversation when possible.
Doing these things is your best bet. However, there are still going to be those times when you find yourself sitting for hours on end. And in those cases, use the following tips to restore mobility and health to your legs and back.
One of the primal moves that humans have done since forever is the basic, deep squat. I’m not talking about repetitions of weighted squats for building muscle. Rather, I’m talking about the default “sitting” position still used by millions upon millions of healthy people worldwide.
The basic deep squat begins with feet at hip width apart or closer. The feet are angled outward very slightly to maintain the normal alignment of the knees.
Then, you bend your knees, pushing your butt out behind you, and lower yourself down as far as you can. Ultimately, the aim is for your butt to touch your heels as you lower all the way down. At the bottom of the squat, when it is done correctly, it should feel restful. This is how millions of humans rest without sitting or lying down.
It is really important that the knees do not move toward one another in the squat. They should stay wide, and your arms should be inside your legs, not outside. That will keep your knees safe.
Some men will find that they have tight achilles heels. They have a hard time keeping their heels on the ground when squatting. If you are one of them, it is okay to come up on the balls of your feet. If you need more support, you can roll up a towel and place it under your heels.
You may not be able to achieve a complete deep squat at first. If not, then keep at it, and over time you’ll limber up.
Also, at no point should it hurt. If it does, stop what you are doing. I’m not talking about the possible discomfort of a stretch. I am talking about sharp or acute pain. If you experience that, do not force through it. Pain of that sort is a warning that you’re doing something wrong.
Deep squats are great for your lower back. They’re also good for the groin, which can get tight after long sitting.
Next, you can start to loosen up tight hips and get the blood flowing in your legs with some gentle leg swings. There are two basic variations: forward-and-backward and side-to-side.
If you’re not sure if your stability, find something to hold on to. The back of a stable chair, for example, would be great.
To do forward-and-backward leg swings, begin by shifting your weight onto one leg as you stand. Then swing the other straight leg forward and backward. Swing the leg in a controlled fashion. Gentle is best. There’s no need to turn it into some sort of competition. Just swing the leg as far forward and backward as you can without pain and with control.
Do 20 swings if you can. Then switch legs and do another 20 swings.
Next, for side-to-side swings, it’s much the same, but from side-to-side. Start by shifting the weight onto one leg. Then swing the other leg out to the side and then back across center and to the other side. Keep the leg in front of the body. As with the forward-and-backward swings, swing the leg only so far as you can with control.
Do 20 swings with each leg.
Too much sitting is no good for your health. It has both long term and short term health effects. The best solution is prevention. So take as many breaks as you can from sitting. However, for those times when you find yourself sitting for long hours, use these simple moves to help yourself to feel better.