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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 January 14, 2019

        7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

        7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

        From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

        What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

        1. Take the scenic route.

        Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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        Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

        2. Distract yourself.

        No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

        3. Listen to music or podcasts.

        There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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        4. Bring a friend.

        Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

        Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

        5. Accessorize.

        There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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        For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

        6. Compete.

        A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

        7. Relax.

        The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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        With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

        Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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