If you sit at a desk for work, look after your posture and prevent adding unwanted kilos to your stomach and butt with these top tips from a PT.
In modern life, more and more of our jobs (and pastimes) involve sitting down. The irony is our bodies are not designed to spend so many hours per day, for months and years, sitting.
If you counted up all the hours you spent sitting down in a day – driving or catching public transport, working, eating, relaxing, watching TV, sleeping, it becomes obvious how limited your daily movement actually is.
Your weekly exercise routine – a run and two gym sessions – can’t counteract the effect of this many sedentary hours. Most adverse postural changes and minor aches and pains are not caused by activity, but by this inactivity.
Forward thinking schools in both the UK and Australia are introducing standing desks to combat everything from obesity to boredom. Until workplace practice catches up with the needs of your body, you can use our ‘rescue remedy for desk workers’.
Challenge: When you slump and lean back, your hips tuck under and your pelvis tilts forward causing your core to switch off. Your core is an endurance muscle designed to be activated at a low level for long periods of time. If it is not used, it becomes lazy and does not do its job of supporting your back and flattening your lower belly.
Solution: 3 times per day remind your core to activate. Sit up straight and draw your lower belly (below your navel) gently in as you breathe out.
Challenge: Slouching in your chair also causes you to round your shoulders. This pulls on the muscles of your upper back and shortens your chest muscles. There is then a tendency to increase your head tilt upwards, putting pressure on your neck.
Solution: 3 times per day stretch your arms up above your head, out to the sides and behind your back.
Challenge: Sitting for long periods also leads your hip flexors to shorten and your glutes to weaken. This change can cause pain in the lower back, hips and knees, as it is all interlinked.
Solution: 3 times per day stand with one foot placed back, front knee slightly bent. Feel a stretch down the front of your back leg. Then, standing on one leg, keep the buttock of your supporting leg clenched as you do mini squats.
Research shows that even these small movements can enhance your posture, tum and tush.
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub
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