If you haven’t heard of ‘sitting disease’, it is a scientific term for the sedentary lifestyle a lot of us live nowadays. Long hours in front of computers, or jobs that require sitting for long periods can contribute to the hours you spend sitting down each day.
I realised recently that I spend a lot of my time seated – sounds weird for a yoga teacher, right? But with a lot of admin / marketing work moving online, many of us can get caught in the trap of sitting for long hours at a time, even if we have active jobs. What do you do when you get on the train or bus – look for a seat. What do you do when you get home from work – hit the couch. What do you do when you go on your phone to check Facebook – more often than not, you sit down and an hour will pass without you even noticing.
According to juststand.org the average person spends 12 hours a day sitting down. That’s half our lives sitting down. They consider ‘sitting disease’ to be one of the greatest health threats of our time, and with the research they provide, I’m not surprised.
This all sounds very doom and gloom, but for those of us who want to make changes, it is surprisingly easy to do. Here are some simple stretches to do at work, or when you are out and about – any time you have been sitting for a long period of time. I’m a huge fan of doing these stretches in bathroom stalls because it means I can do them anywhere – at restaurants, shops, cafes, at home, at work – without feeling self-conscious about being the lady with the flailing arms in aisle 3. So here’s your weekly challenge to counteract sitting. Every time you go to the loo, do this quick routine. It’s just 2 minutes long but will add huge benefits to your shoulders, back, glutes, hips and hamstrings as well as the countless other benefits to your physical and mental health.
- Mountain Pose – yup, this one was an easy one. Mountain pose is effectively standing up. Roll your shoulders back and keep your spine erect. Have your feet at hip-width distance and really press into all four corners of your feet. Lengthen the crown of your head towards the ceiling. Breathe deeply and stay in this pose for 30 seconds.
- Standing pigeon – from mountain pose, bend your knees, keeping your back straight so you are in a high squat position. Then bend your right knee and lift your right ankle and place it over your left thigh. Your legs are in a figure 4 position with your knee out to the side (pictured above). Hold for 30 seconds and then change sides.
- Forward fold – from mountain pose bend your knees and fold forward, letting the neck and head completely relax. For 10 seconds straighten your knees to give your hamstrings a wake-up call. For 20 seconds bend your knees generously to release the lower spine.
So that’s the challenge. Every loo break, take 2 additional minutes to do these 3 simple yoga poses in order to help counteract the sitting we all do every day. I’m going to do the challenge with you, so let me know how you get on!