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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 9, 2020

        10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

        10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

        Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

        Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

        Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

        If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

        Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

        1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

        Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

        Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

        Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

        2. No Motivation

        Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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        This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

        If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

        3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

        Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

        A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

        A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

        The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

        4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

        One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

        We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

        Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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        You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

        5. Upward Comparisons

        Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

        The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

        These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

        Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

        6. No Alternative

        This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

        Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

        Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

        Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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        7. Stress

        As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

        When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

        We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

        If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

        8. Sense of Failure

        People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

        Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

        Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

        If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

        9. The Need to Be All-New

        People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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        These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

        10. Force of Habit

        Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

        Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

        These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

        Final Thoughts

        These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

        There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

        More on Breaking Bad Habits

        Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
        [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
        [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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