Is it safe to call this current generation the generation of the sit? We are not referring to the sit-down protests of the 1960s; rather, people just sit down a lot in their daily lives. Whether it be sitting at a desk, sitting in traffic, doom scrolling, or sitting to watch Netflix, sitting is all too common in this day and age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even notes that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Inactivity isn’t the only thing that concerns health experts, though. Sitting for long periods is not great for your back or neck. Sitting for long periods of time can alter posture in the lumbar and thoracic spine areas, which include the vertebrae in the lower and middle parts of the spine. If the spine isn’t properly aligned, then you may also de-condition the muscles in the surrounding vertebrae.
Your posture also affects your mood or general outlook on life, according to certain medical centers. When you focus on improving your posture, you may improve your confidence and energy levels. Plus, you may reduce tension in the neck, relieve migraines, and prevent back and shoulder issues. So if you suffer from back pain or want to improve your posture, engage in the following workout that you can do every day.
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent, planting your feet on the floor about six inches from your buttocks. Keep your arms flat on the ground by your sides, and your fingertips should be able to touch your heels. Press your lower back into the floor and squeeze your glutes, pressing up through your heels to drive your hips up toward the ceiling. Aim to make a diagonal line from your knees to your chest, resisting the urge to arch your lower back. Maintain a neutral spine and roll your shoulders back. Hold this position for one to two seconds and then return to the starting position in a controlled manner. Complete a total of three sets of 10 reps.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
Stand up straight with your feet hip-distance apart, resting your arms by your sides. Without raising your shoulders, squeeze your shoulder blades together, aiming to bring them as close as you can without pain. Hold for five seconds and then release, which counts as one repetition. Complete a total of three sets of 10 reps.
You will need an exercise ball for this exercise. Lie over an exercise ball on your stomach, position yourself to rest your abdomen and hips on the ball. Extend your legs back behind you, placing your toes on the ground to maintain balance. Cross your arms across your chest, engage your glutes, and lift your chest as far up as possible. Make sure to keep your hips in contact with the ball throughout this movement. Return to the starting position and continue until you complete the set. Make sure to complete three sets of 10 reps.
Begin in a tabletop position, stacking your shoulders over your wrists and hips over your knees. Lower yourself down to your elbows, place your forearms on the ground, and step your feet back to stand on your toes. This is a forearm plank and you should aim to maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. Resist the urge to sag your hips towards the ground; rather, engage your glutes and core. Press your forearms into the ground and squeeze your abdominals, drawing your belly button into your spine. Hold for 30 seconds and then rest, and then complete two more sets of 30-second holds. YOu can increase the time if you want to amp up the intensity.
Single Leg Hold
Like flat on your back and bring your feet up into a tabletop position (90-degree), keeping your shins parallel to the ground. Drop your right leg down, keeping it bent as you place it on the floor. Press your palms on the middle of your left thigh and resist that force slightly by engaging your left quad and glute muscles. Hold for ten seconds and then release. Repeat on the other leg and then rest for 30 seconds. Complete three sets of 10-second holds for each leg.