It’s sad to admit, but these days, sitting has become the new norm. Whether we’re at work in front of a computer, sitting in front of a professor in a classroom, or even sitting in a car driving from errand to errand, the crazy amount of time that we spend sitting down on a regular basis means that our bodies are spending a lot less time in motion. And unfortunately, when you’re spending all that time sitting down, your body is adapting – and not in a good way. The joints in your knees and hips flex to 90 degrees, your muscles start to relax a little too much, and you start to get a bit of stress in your pelvic area – specifically your abdomen and organs – which definitely isn’t good news for your body. For all you over-sitters out there – i.e. all of us, let’s be real – here are some easy and helpful exercises you can do that will help you counteract the negative effects of all that time spent slouching over in your seat.
Table Pigeon Pose
This is a perfect exercise for the yogis because it’s almost exactly like the pigeon pose you do during a yoga session, except you’ll have a little help from a table. This move stretches out your muscles by pushing them into wacky angles that you usually wouldn’t be able to do if you were on the ground. Place your leg on the table with your knee bent, and lean toward the bent leg, holding the pose for about 60-90 seconds. When the time is up, tilt your body to a different angle and hold for the same amount of time. Do this once more at a completely different angle than the previous two, and then repeat on your other leg.
Not only does this help you after a long day of sitting, but it’s also a great way to switch up your normal ab routine. This exercise requires you to keep your hips steady and not rotate them as you lift up different limbs. Make sure you have a yoga mat handy for this exercise because you will need to get down on all fours. Reach one hand outward and upward, while lifting the opposite leg to the sky at the same time. Bring them back to starting position and repeat on the other side. Alternate sides for about 10 to 12 reps on each side. Pretend there’s a cup of hot liquid sitting on your back so that you try to keep yourself as steady as possible.
This acts as an advanced combination of the pushup and plank workout. (We know, we know: one is bad enough, so why would we combine? Trust us, it works.) The move is a great way to mobilize your upper back, which can definitely use a little bit of love after you’ve been hunched over in a chair all day. Get into position to do a pushup, but spread your feet out so that they’re a little wider than your hips. Do a regular old pushup, and then without rotating your hips, rotate your entire body to one side. Balancing all of your weight on one side, lift one arm into the air as high as you can. Replace your hand, continue to do another pushup, and repeat with the other arm. Do about 6 to 10 reps of this on each side.
Pushup with a Pause
Pushups are another great way to stretch your abdomen after a long day. And when you throw in a little extra pause, you’ll be able to maximize that stress even more. Do a standard pushup but when you reach the floor, hold your chest over the floor for two to three seconds longer than you usually would. Do six to 10 of these.
Deadlifts work a lot of different muscles in your body in areas like your glutes, core, and traps. Because of this versatility, deadlifts are great when it comes to improving posterity that usually tends to get worse while sitting at a desk all day. Grab a kettlebell for a little extra arm workout and keeping your spine as straight as possible, bend slightly at the knees and lift the dumbbell up with your body. As you lift higher, your legs should get straighter. Slowly lower the kettlebell back down to the floor. Perform about 15 of these.