I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people on the 9-5 grind will be sitting down a lot. Almost the entire day. Which is not very healthy at all.
According to a study conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine, people who sit at desk jobs all day were found to be twice as likely to die early, even with regular exercise.
Even with the best intentions, like walking around every hour or taking frequent breaks you'll still spend the majority of your time desk dwelling. And unless you’re in a progressive office with stand up desks, this is kind of hard to avoid.
There's a couple of things that will happen when you are hunched over a desk all day. Tight hips and legs, a weak core, and possibly even imbalances in your neck, upper back and chest muscles.
You may even be prone to cramps or aches during work. Don't ignore those signs, it's your body’s way of protesting.
Combine sitting down all day with our overreliance on keyboards, screens and smartphones. This makes us collectively more susceptible to bad posture. Think overly rounded shoulders and a protruding neck.
If you're actively taking part in sports, going to the gym, regular yoga practice you may already be offsetting the potential damage done.
Yoga offers a great way to combat sitting down all day, and with that said these are my top 5 poses to do just that.
1. Childs Pose
This pose can be easily modified depending on how flexible your hips are, and gives a soothing stretch throughout your back.
Child's Pose helps to stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue. Perfect to combat the static pose your lower body has been in all day.
This pose also relaxes the muscles on the front of the body while softly and passively stretching the muscles of the back torso.
2. Cat / Cow Pose
Another simple pose that’s very effective an opening up your back. You'll want to start this pose on all fours, rounding you back to its pointing toward the ceiling. At the same time pull your chin into your chest. This is the first part of the pose.
Next to perform the opposite pose, arch your back and stick your bum up to the sky as high as you can, getting a second stretch in your back.
The sequence of the cat/cow pose helps to develop postural awareness and balance throughout the body.
It brings the spine into correct alignment and can help prevent back pain when practiced regularly.
Sitting for long periods can shorten and tighten the inner thighs, groin, and hip flexors. Malasana is a hip-opening yoga posture. It will keep your hip joints and pelvis healthy and opens your hips.
The pose will also stretch your groin, lower hamstrings, back, and ankles. Perfect!
Don't worry if your heels aren't flat on the floor. Depending on how flexible your hips and you may be better off using one or two yoga blocks for extra support.
4. Downward Facing Dog
One of the most familiar and recognisable yoga postures. The downward-facing dog will help make your lower back, hamstrings, calves, and wrists stronger. Again, these are body parts that will all feel the strain of sitting down all day.
When performing this pose make sure your palms are flat to the earth to protect your wrists. Point your middle fingers forward and look down and back toward your toes to keep your neck safe.
5. Upward Facing Dog
Upward facing dog stretches and strengthens your spine while improving posture and opening your shoulders and chest.
It's a back-bending yoga posture that lengthens and strengthens the spine, torso, and arms.
Just make sure to keep your gaze down, and stay for 3-5 breaths, only rising up as far as feels safe for your low back.
Sitting down for the majority of your day may be unavoidable. But the side effects of it can be. As soon as you start seeing any negative impacts be sure to tell your health and safety office.
Make sure you try some of the poses above as they will stretch and strengthen your protesting muscles.