The average American sits for eight hours a day, according to U.S. News. Keeping in mind that the human body was designed to be in an upright position, you can probably guess that being seated for an extended period of time everyday will have some consequences down the road.
Now think of what you do after you leave work. You get in your car, in a seated position. You drive to the gym and it’s leg day, so you’re squatting, in that same seated position, or you hop on the stationary bike, where you are (again) sitting. You go home and sit down to watch TV and eat dinner. Or if you’re on the opposite end of that spectrum and you’re a huge runner, I don’t even have to tell you because you already know how tight your hips are. Slowly but surely this forward flexed position becomes more natural than a standing position.
Our hip flexors and postural muscles of our back become so tight and overworked, leaving our glutes and abdominal muscles relaxed and weak.
If we don’t do something to counteract our long days of sitting, we can develop countless amounts of painful problems in our body that can take years to overcome.
The good news is, there is a way to steer clear of this problem–by taking stretch breaks every two hours at work. Stretch breaks give your body the chance to get back to its natural state and avoid locking up in a seated position. Start by adding just a few simple stretches (provided below) to open up the hips and activate your glutes so that when you go back to sitting down, your body will naturally adjust into a position that utilizes both muscle areas.
Low lunge with dropped knee
Starting in this position is great for allowing you to breathe into the stretch. With each breath try to push a little deeper. For a deeper stretch, put your hands or even (if you can) your elbows on the INSIDE of your forward leg. Another variation that includes the lower back is to reach the arms overhead and slowly lean the upper body back while still pushing into the front leg.
One legged chair pose
I recommend this pose because not only does it reinforce stretching the hips and strengthening the glutes, it’s also fun trying to play with balance and seeing just how low you can get.
Downward Facing Frog
Although this pose may seem a bit awkward to bust out right next to your desk at work, it is highly effective in counteracting the seated position. I suggest getting a couple coworkers to join you in your hip stretches every couple hours. That way doing this awesome stretch won’t be as weird.