I don’t know about you, but I spend most of every day sitting. I sit for the most part at work, and when I get home, I’m on my laptop – and I’m sitting.
Studies show there are health risks involved (this goes for people of ALL ages) with prolonged sitting.
- Altered posture
- Muscle tension
- Increased risk of obesity
- Increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- Decreased cardiovascular health
- Altered and compressed digestion
According to a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, we would burn 30% more calories if we stood up rather than sat down.
I try to take this seriously and incorporate a few things I could do to get on my feet and take a break from sitting all the time. Call me quirky, but after every meal, I try to kneel in front of the table where I use my laptop. When my knees get tired, I stand. It’s really awkward doing this so I only really stand if I’m watching Netflix or something! But either way, I usually do this for a good half hour to one hour before I actually sit properly because I do believe that sitting down compresses the abdominal cavity and thus slow my digestion. One day, I’d love to have a sit / stand desk so I won’t look as weird with my kneeling / standing routine… hopefully.
In addition, I try to take breaks every hour or two to do some stretches so I don’t become a stiff, aching board. The very goal of this post is to show you the 5 stretches I do all / most of the time to give my body a break. I feel that it helps stretch different parts of my body so I feel quite refreshed after doing them.
Hopefully you’ll find it works for you or otherwise motivate you to have your own set of stretches / exercises to do. If you don’t already have a regimen, do give these a try, and feel free to change up the reps as you see fit!!
5 Quick Stretches (featuring my drawings, oh boy)
1. Neck stretches – “Side Rotation”
Keep your back straight and roll your head over to one side until you feel a tugging or slight stretching on your neck and shoulders.
I usually do this for about 15 seconds each on each side, and 2 reps.
2. Shoulder shrugs & rotations
Keep your back straight and the only thing you’re really moving are your shoulders.
10x forward / 10x backward
3. Wrist rolls
5x clockwise / 5x counterclockwise = 1 rep. I do this for 2 reps.
4. Back stretches – “Cat-Cow Pose”
This one requires you to be on all fours. Spread legs so that they’re shoulder length apart. First arch your back upward (to the ceiling) when inhaling, then curve your back down the other way, pointing your head up to the sky / ceiling whilst exhaling (like a cat). I do this for 10 times.
5. Touch Your Toes
This requires you to stand up. Spread your legs apart, and touch each side, holding for 20 seconds each. Then, put your feet together, bend down, and hold for another 20 seconds.