In the office, on the subway or on the couch: we sit too much. According to a study, Germans spend an average of eight and a half hours sitting down on a normal working day.
This is not good for the human body at all, because it is actually built for movement. The US researcher Dr. James Levine, with the slogan “Sitting is the new smoking”, equates the harmful effects of too much sedentary life with even years of cigarette smoking. If you want to counteract this, you should incorporate these small exercises into your everyday life.
To sit on the floor
Fight long sitting with even more seats? Sounds counterproductive, but actually helps. Because sitting on chairs a lot, the spine becomes crooked, the head and neck begin to tilt forward and the hip joints become stiff.
On the ground, we need to be more actively in control of our posture, which improves posture, flexibility, and mobility. 15 to 30 minutes a day can make a big difference. The most effective positions are cross-legged like a yoga seat, knees bent at 90 degrees (feet pointing backwards) and both soles of feet touching the floor in a squat.
Sitting Rising Test
From here you can go directly to the next exercise: many people cannot get up from the floor cross-legged without holding on to something or supporting themselves on the floor.
It’s worth working on every day: Studies show that the so-called “sitting-rising test” not only promotes flexibility and stability, but can also be an indicator of life expectancy.
The Yoga Pigeon
Sitting for long periods of time shortens the muscles in the hips and buttocks, which restricts mobility and can lead to back pain, knee and foot problems and poor circulation in the long term.
Anyone who has ever practiced yoga is certainly familiar with the pigeon asana – hardly any other exercise stretches the hips so effectively. Instead of rolling out the yoga mat right away, you can also incorporate this exercise into your everyday life while standing:
- To do this, place your right calf flat on a raised surface (such as a desk) with your knee pointing to the right, and your left leg firmly on the floor.
- Place your left hand on your right ankle and your right hand on your knee.
- Then bend forward and twist your upper body slightly towards your right foot.
- Hold the position for about three minutes and then repeat on the other side.
The glute squeeze
Glutes strengthen the pelvis and keep it from tipping forward. The muscles can be easily – and unobtrusively – trained in everyday life. To do this, clench your glutes as if trying to hold a pencil between your buttocks. The exercise works both sitting and standing – for example while waiting at the coffee machine.
Just get up
If possible, a standing desk can help to offer the body a little variety in the office day. Changing positions regularly instead of sitting rigidly in a chair for eight hours makes a big difference. If you don’t have the opportunity to move your desk, you should get up at least once an hour and stretch or shake your legs. Another option: Use short phone calls to get up and walk around a bit.