Measures when sitting for long periods
Too much sitting, irrespective of whether it is in an office or just for leisure, can cause problems like aches and pains in the back, the neck or the hip. Especially sitting with shoulders turned forward, a rounded back and the neck recking forward can be harmful. Of course, we cannot fully avoid sitting, for example in a meeting or when driving a car, but we can incorporate some measures that counteract the effects of wrong posture and too much sitting:
- Of course, the best measure is to get up and move every now and then. Our muscles and joints need blood. It would be best to get up and mover for two or three minutes after sitting for around 45 minutes. Ideally we increase the pulse to show the body that we are not asleep and that all usual processes should continue normally.
- Increase non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), for example playing with kids, gardening or running to the bus. Taking the stairs instead of using the escalator is also a good idea.
- Practise active sitting, for example sitting just on the edge of the seat.
- Breathing exercises for deep (diaphragm) breathing.
- Learning good posture, especially keeping the spine upright, including integrating shoulders and hips.
- Strengthening the stabilising muscles, like the muscles around the spine, the buttocks and the abs.
- Stretching of the shortened muscles in the front of the body, like the hip flexor, the chest muscles and the anterior shoulders.
- Moving the spine in all directions, including spinal rotations, to keep blood flowing to spinal disks.
Everybody is responsible for the first measures. For the last few suggestions I will soon offer a live video workout, that can be done during your lunch break – no equipment necessary, no sweating. ‘Fit during the break’ will guide you to good posture, will strengthen your muscles that support your spine and will mobilise your joints so that aches and pains will be a thing of the past!
In the next article I will give you some suggestions for mobilisation so that you can start immediately!