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3 Exercises You Need To Do To Counteract Sitting All Day

3 Exercises You Need To Do To Counteract Sitting All Day

Are you a desk jockey? Do you spend most of your day sitting or hunched over a computer or laptop? According to a report from CNN, sitting all day may actually be killing you, or at the very least, could be taking years off of your life. When you sit, especially for long periods of time, your body slowly becomes more hunched over. Your internal organs get compacted and are forced to operate in less than ample space. Over time, the spine begins to weaken because of the unnatural stress placed on the joints. Hip muscles and joints begin to shorten and become tight, making standing up straight less comfortable. Ultimately, the body’s blood circulation decreases due to lack of movement. This is partially why legs and ankles will also swell during long stationary periods. The point is alarmingly clear: if you sit for long periods of time during the day, you could actually be doing your body some real harm.

The great news is that there are simple foam rolling exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home that can help your body heal, which all take less less than 15 minutes total. Grab a foam roller or a mobility ball (like a lacrosse ball) and try out these three exercises.

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Glute Smash

If you’re sitting on your butt all day, you need to give it some love. Most people don’t realize that rolling out your glutes will help you loosen more than just your butt muscles. You’ll also loosen your upper hamstrings and help remove some pressure from your lower back.

Glute Smash
    How to do it:

    Place a mobility ball, or a lacrosse ball under your glute muscle on one side. Rotate the ball until you find a tight spot or “trigger point”. Contract and release the muscle (basically squeeze your butt cheek and release it) for two minutes. Keep your legs bent with the knees out to the side.

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    Hip Flexor

    Like I mentioned earlier, when you sit for long periods of time, the hip muscles (including the quad and hip flexors) slowly shorten and become tighter. Tight hips make it really uncomfortable to stand up straight, and the tight joint puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on the lower back. Stretch out and open up the hips by focusing on the hip flexors.

    Hip Flexor TFL
      How to do it:

      Laying on your side, put the foam roller on the upper outside of your leg – near your hip. Roll the foam roller and knead it into the muscle tissue, fascia and tendon between your knee all the way up to your hip. Continue back and forth.

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      T-Spine Smash

      This simple movement is one of my favorites because it helps counteract the “dreaded hunchback syndrome” so many people get from hunching over their computers every day. A great added benefit: part of this movement passes over the shoulders so you are able to help release tension that has built up throughout the week.

      TSpine Smash
        How to do it:

        Lay on your back with your knees bent and your heels close to your butt. Position the foam roller just above your shoulder blades. Look straight up and give yourself a hug. Feel the stretch in your back as you hold the position and roll the foam roller down to your lower back and back to between your shoulder blades. Repeat for the duration of the movement. If you’re still not sure about each of these movements, find an app like MoveWell that will guide you through each movement in the mobility workout, step-by-step, or head over to these tutorials on YouTube: Glute Stretches Hip Stretches Thoracic Spine Stretches

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        Featured photo credit: Hip Distraction Stretch/Joel Runyon via movewellapp.com

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        Last Updated on November 11, 2019

        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

        Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

        To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

        Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

        1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

        Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

        Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

        To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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        2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

        Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

        If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

        Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

        3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

        Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

        Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

        4. Feed Your Brain

        Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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        This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

        Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

        Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

        5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

        According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

        Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

        Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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        6. Write it Down

        If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

        It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

        You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

        7. Listen to Music

        Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

        8. Visual Concepts

        In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

        Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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        Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

        9. Teach Someone Else

        Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

        Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

        10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

        Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

        So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

        Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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