The modern world is full of jobs where you remain seated for around 8 hours a day, and then go home to sit somewhere else recreationally. This isn’t the ideal scenario to place your body in for 5 days a week every week, in fact, it couldn’t be much worse for your health.
However, prolonged sitting can cause a lot worse than a numb bum. What many people do not realise is, it can cause heart issues, colon problems and even affect your breathing. Furthermore, after a while, it can also affect your mental health which will only send things in to an even greater downward spiral.
Whilst you may not realise it, prolonged sitting can create health problems that drastically affect your day to day life. Tightened hips, neurological issues and heart problems can make it challenging to do sport but also make walking seem like more of a task. Furthermore, due to the neurological problems prolonged sitting causes, you may not even want to get out of bed in the morning, sound familiar?
Why Should I Exercise?
The reasons behind exercising after long sitting times are all about your health. Being seated for long periods can affect you mentally and physically so exercising is an important part in avoiding these effects.
Exercise will help you to feel better. It will help blood to circulate around your body, ensuring your brain gets the chemicals it needs for a healthy natural state and helping to fight off depression with adrenaline. It will also help to keep your flexible in the hip area and strengthen your bones. This will in turn make day to day activities much easier and maybe even inspire you to do more!
In addition to all this, regular exercise can ward off health issues til the latter years of your life. Your joints will all age slower and therefore you will be active for a longer period.
Preventing Prolonged Sitting
If you are like most people in the modern age, you will be required to sit for around 8 hours a day at a minimum. However, if you can avoid being seated for the entire time, this will help you more than any exercise.
There are a few ways to avoid prolonged sitting. Many companies will allow you to utilise a standing desk, this will let you alternate between sitting and standing which would be perfect for your health. If your office needs any convincing, tell them about the evidence of standing desks increasing productivity. If this still isn’t an option for you then you should attempt to take regular breaks, with at least 5 minutes every half hour stood up if possible. This could simply be to get a coffee or you could spend the 5 minutes stretching or doing yoga. Both of these activities would be beneficial for someone stuck behind a desk all day. Stretching the hips and the spine are most important as your posture when behind a desk tends to be detrimental for your health.
What Are The Best Exercises After A Long Day Seated?
Finding the most suitable exercises after a long day seated can be tricky, often because you don’t know where to begin as you feel stiff and uncomfortable everywhere. Because of this, we have compiled a simply and easy set of exercises anyone can complete in their own home, to get themselves feeling fresh and fit again.
The exercises are as follows:
Leg Rotations And Swings
The legs are one of the most important parts of your body to exercise as your hips and hamstrings tighten and weaken without regular use. This exercise is very simple in the way it ensures your legs get their daily dose of movement.
Leg swings can be done both front to back or side to side. For maximum effect you should try to do both for a couple of minutes. This exercise should then loosen your hamstrings and ensure both they are your hips remain strong and flexible. It should also make you feel less tight.
Afterwards you can also rotate your feet and and legs in small circles for a similar period of time. This will encourage blood circulation and prevent unwanted clotting.
Squats are a simple exercise utilised by many people. However, to help your muscles after a long day of sitting, you don’t have to be an expert. Just keep your heels on the ground and squat as low as possible for around half a minute, until you feel the strain. This will help keep your muscles strong and stretch your groin area. It will also flex your back and hips, two of the most affected areas from prolonged sitting.
Utilising objects around you such as a table or a chair can be very beneficial to the amount of your body you can stretch. In this case it allows you to place your legs at 90 degree angles. If you hold your leg in this position for around a minute before rotating if to a slightly different position and doing the same, it will help to loosen you up and keep you flexible. This exercise can also be good for those suffering for knee and hip ailments if you support the injured part of your body whilst conducting the exercise.
This stretch is a simple one as long as your have good balance. Hold one leg behind your back for around 30 seconds and then do the same with the other leg. Switch between legs 4-5 times until you feel a strain. This is good as it shows that you are exercising your quads and encouraging blood flow. This can also be turned into a fun way of exercising by competing with a friend, to see who can stand the longest. This will help encourage you to keep exercising long term.
Hip Flexes (With Or Without Weights)
These exercises can be done both stood up and laid down. To get the most out of this exercise it is recommended that you lay down and use a weight just below your hips. However, the exercise can be done without weights too. When laid you bend your knees whilst keeping your feet flat on the floor, raising the lower half of your body. Alternatively, when stood, you can push your pelvis. Doing these actions repeatedly will help to keep your hips and glutes in the best condition.
If you no longer feel a strain from conducting this exercise, simply add weights to make it more of a challenge. Alternatively, you can do it more frequently.
Another great way to exercise your hips and legs is leg raises. These can be done by almost getting in to a press up position but with your knees remaining on the floor. Then whilst keeping the rest of your body as straight as possible, raise one of your legs as high as you can, keeping it in the same bent position. Repeat this 10-20 times and you will really feel the effects in your hips and below. This exercise is one you’ll only have to do a couple of times a week because of its effects.
Will I Feel Immediate Effects After Completing These Exercises?
You may feel strain immediately after completing the exercises, however you may not feel the immediate positive effects. You will have to continue to do the exercises after prolonged sitting to ensure you body gets the circulation and challenges it needs to be healthy. These effects may take time to fully develop and for you to fully appreciate them. Despite this, once you do start to feel the effects they will be well worth it. You will feel more energised, happier and more able to complete physical activity.