The average person spends over half of his or her waking hours doing sedentary activities, from working at a computer to watching television to even commuting, according to a January 2015 article inAnnals of Internal Medicine. These long periods of sedentary behavior lead to serious health risks: weakened bones, muscle degeneration, and heart disease have been linked to excessive inactivity. To help you keep your body strong, John Turchetta, MD, a physiatrist at NEBH, offers some tips for working more activity into your daily routine.
Your hips, glutes, and back are some of the most affected areas of your body when you sit for too long, so here are stretches you can do at work or at home to target and strengthen these parts of your body.
Hips: If you’re chronically sitting, your hip flexors lose their strength. Hip flexors help keep you balanced and mobile—in fact, decreased hip mobility in the elderly is a leading cause of falls.
Glutes: Sitting for too long weakens your gluteal muscles, which are important muscles for balance and for powering your movements.
Back: Constantly sitting places strain on your lower back, which can cause damage to your spinal disks.
You should try to move around for 1-3 minutes once every half hour that you’re doing a long-term sitting activity like working at the computer or watching television. In addition to these stretches, you can also increase the amount of active time during your day by getting up finding reasons to walk around (fill up your water bottle, for example!), taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or giving someone else a seat on the public transportation you use. Being active throughout the day will create long-lasting benefits that will help you leader a longer, healthier life.