Step up and Stretch if You Sit All Day
By Sandy Schroeder
So many of us sit all day and throughout the evening, all the while assuming we will get by with it. However, our bodies often disagree. The term "tight hips" becomes very meaningful when pain becomes a daily issue.
I sat and worked for years and exercised in the evening and on the weekends. Then I got off track with a bunch of other issues and began to lag with my yoga classes. You guessed it. I paid a price. My tight hip stressors that suffer the most from sitting took over, and now I needed yoga and exercise more than ever.
Fight Back with Simple Stretches
Wherever you are with exercise and sitting, there are some simple stretches that only take a few minutes. They can help your body rally. Here are some treadmill starters from WellAndGood.com.
Start with kick-backs - When you step on the treadmill and begin walking, kick your foot behind you toward your bottom to stretch your hamstrings.
Next do high knees - They are hard, but they are key stretches for those tight hip flexors, which are really one of the tightest muscles in the body. Hip flexors are used in almost every type of movement and they are under constant stress when we sit all day. High knee stretches lubricate the hip flexors to prevent injury as you move faster on the treadmill. When hip flexors are tight, circulation is blocked and a tilted pelvis can develop. Do high knees every time you use the treadmill.
Add a Bedtime Stretch
WellAndGood's Alicia Archer suggests adding a five-minute bedtime stretch to turn your bed into a massage table, keeping the body limber and encouraging a good night's sleep.
If you exercise after work and your body becomes energized, a bedtime stretch routine can help you wind down to ease back into a relaxed sleep state.
When you start, focus on your breath to match your breathing to each movement. As you relax, your whole body gets a gentle massage.
Neck rolls - Sit up straight and gently roll the head around, down, back and side to side.
Shoulder rolls - Lift the shoulders up. Then roll them back, down and forward.
Deep side bends - Lift the arms up and gently dip to the right and swing back up. Reverse and repeat.
Figure-4 hip openers - Lift your right leg up in a crossover stretch to the left knee. Reverse and repeat.
Stretching is really one of the biggest favors you can do for your body. Wherever you are every day, take short breaks to stretch while on the treadmill, after a workout, or before you turn in at night. Your body will thank you with less pain and more flexibility.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Schaumburg, Ill.