How to Combat Long Hours of Sitting (Without Joining a Gym)

    AUGUST 20, 2021

    How to Combat Long Hours of Sitting (Without Joining a Gym)

    Quick and easy tips, stretches, and exercises to protect your health from the harmful effects of too much sitting

    In this ever-growing digital world, we’re more connected to our devices than ever before.

    With so many lifestyles relying on computers and smartphones, many of us are confined to a desk for several hours a day.

    And the pandemic has caused an explosion in the number of people who work from home.

    Unfortunately, these factors cause many of us to spend a good majority of our time sitting––a totally different worldwide epidemic that, if left unchecked, can wreak havoc on our health and wellbeing.

    But the good news is, with a little focus and dedication, you can easily counteract it.

    Keep reading as we cover some helpful tips, stretches, and exercises you can start using today to help reduce and even prevent the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

    Helpful Tips to Combat Sitting

    Recent research has established a link between sitting too much and negative health outcomes like increased risk of cardiovascular issues, circulatory disruptions blood sugar problems, and even premature mortality.

    But the key to combating long hours of sitting is quite simple. All you have to do is add regular standing and, if possible, walking breaks into your schedule.

    One meta-review study found that breaking up long bouts of sitting with periods of standing and walking improved participants’ glucose metabolism, insulin response, good cholesterol, and even reduced the risk of clotting.

    But how often should you get up and move around? And how can you organize your breaks around work restrictions?

    How to Combat Long Hours of Sitting (Without Joining a Gym)

    We’re glad you asked.

    Try following these health-saving tips to ensure you’re getting enough movement in throughout the day:

    • Take a short 2-5 minute break every thirty minutes to an hour  Using your phone, computer, or a good old-fashioned timer, set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and walk around for a few minutes at least once every hour.
    • Standing is better than nothing – Can’t leave your desk without getting into trouble? Even the simple act of standing and stretching your legs for a couple of minutes can make a big difference. 
    • Invest in a standing desk – If you work from home, a standing desk is an excellent way to put a damper on your sitting time. Combined with timed breaks, you can dramatically decrease your sedentary activity throughout the day.
    • Sit on an exercise ball instead – You may not be able to get away with this at the office, but if you work remotely, sitting on an exercise ball can better engage your core and stabilizer muscles. This muscle activation helps you maintain good posture and keeps you at least minimally active while seated.
    • Maintain good posture – Much easier said than done, but if you struggle with good posture while sitting down, follow these four tips: 
      • Avoid crossing your legs and ankles.
      • Keep your feet flat against the floor.
      • Maintain a straight spine (ergonomic chairs and seat supports can help).
      • Keep your shoulders relaxed and your elbows close to your body when using your computer.

    Do These Stretches to Relieve Muscle Tension

    Staying in a seated position for long periods of time can lead to tightness in your back, hip flexors, hamstrings, chest, and neck.

    This stress is often caused by bad posture and muscles being held in a shortened position for too long.

    So, naturally, one of the best ways to loosen things up is to stretch.

    Below, we’ve compiled five tension-relieving, posture-improving stretches you can do to help minimize the harmful effects of sitting. For pictures and an in-depth description of how to perform each stretch, follow the included links:

    • Downward dog A famous yoga stretch, downward dog is an excellent way to loosen up the calves and hamstrings. 
    • Low lunge stretch – This stretch will target your hip flexors to counteract the shortened position they’re in while seated.
    • Pigeon stretch – Alleviate stiffness in your glutes, hip flexors, and more with this versatile stretch.
    • Butterfly stretch Chances are, you’re already familiar with this hip-opening groin stretch. Use it during or at the end of your day to improve your hip mobility.
    • Cat cows – Relax your spine, back, abdominals, and neck with this effective two-part yoga movement.

    If you’re unable to stretch at work, take some time afterward for a quick session including each of these poses.

    The human body wasn’t meant to be seated for so long. Adding these movements into your daily routine can help offset and even prevent the loss of strength and mobility that often comes with too much sitting.

    Exercises to Minimize & Prevent Sitting-Related Health Risks

    As with many health issues, regular exercise is one of the best ways of undoing the damage done by sitting.

    Walking alone is enough to make a great deal of difference in several health markers, but we’ve got some other exercises you can use to strengthen your sitting defense:

    • Glute bridges – This hip-extension exercise is the perfect counter to the sitting position, and it’s a great way to build strong glutes. 
      • How to do it: While lying face up, bend your knees about forty-five degrees and keep your feet flat on the floor and about as wide as your hips. Tighten your abs so that your hips tilt forward, causing your lower back to touch the floor. Then, squeeze your glutes and push through your heels, driving your hips upward until your body becomes a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Perform three to four sets of ten to twenty reps.
    • Planks – Planks are one of the most well-known core-strengthening exercises, and they’re great for combating excessive sitting. 
      • How to do it: From a push-up position, tighten your core and drop to your elbows, holding this position for anywhere from fifteen to sixty seconds. Do three to four rounds and try to maintain as straight a spine as possible throughout the exercise, without dipping your hips down or bending them upwards.
    • Mountain climbers – Mountain climbers are another effective core strengthener that is simple and straightforward to do. 
      • How to do it: Simply get into a push-up position, engage your core, and bring one leg up to your chest, alternating back and forth between legs. Do a few sets of twenty on each side, and you may find it easier to maintain good posture while at work.
    • Deep squat holds – This movement can seem deceptively easy, but it may be a bit challenging if you have tight muscles. 
      • How to do it: With your feet about shoulder-width apart and angled out slightly, simply drop down into a squat, going as low as you comfortably can and holding for thirty to sixty seconds. At the bottom, you’ll notice some stretching in your lower back, calves, hamstrings, quads, and groin. Try to keep your heels as flat as possible throughout the movement. If they come up off the floor, it’s a sign that your Achilles tendon and calf muscles are stiff. Don’t worry. You’ll get better with practice! 
    • Dynamic leg swings – Leg swings are a great warmup exercise that you can use to relieve lower body stress and get the blood flowing after a long day of sitting. 
      • How to do it: This dynamic stretch can be performed from front to back and side to side. For front-to-back swings, stand parallel to a wall and place your hand on it for support. In a controlled motion, swing one leg upwards and backward as high as you can comfortably go, and repeat for the opposite leg. For side to side swings, face the wall with enough room to swing your leg in front of you. While holding on for balance, swing one leg to the right and back to the left as far as you can, and repeat with the opposite side. Do twenty reps for each leg on both forward and sideways swings.

    Your body craves movement. Give it what it needs by carving out some time each day for these health-boosting exercises.

    Fight Sitting’s Negative Effects While Seated With BEMER

    When we talk about what sitting does to the body, the reason for all these adverse effects boils down to a simple lack of movement.

    And what happens when we stay seated, not moving for hours? Our circulation becomes sluggish. Our blood pools in our feet and has trouble flowing back to our hearts.

    So, in reality, sitting is largely a blood flow issue.

    Luckily, with BEMER therapy, you can actively increase your local circulation and counteract the effects of prolonged sitting––while sitting!

    The BEMER Office-Pack comes with a specially adapted applicator called the B.SIT that fits perfectly into any office chair, so you can improve your health and wellbeing while you work.

    In two eight-minute sessions a day, the B.SIT directly targets healthy leg, hip, and lower back muscles with a therapeutic pulsed-electromagnetic field (PEMF), stimulating muscle activity at the cellular level.*

    Use your BEMER consistently, and you just might find all sorts of improvements in your health and wellbeing, such as enhanced*:

    • Local blood flow
    • Muscle conditioning & recovery
    • Performance
    • Physical fitness
    • Muscular strength
    • Endurance and energy
    • Vitality and wellbeing
    • Stress reduction and relaxation

    The BEMER Office-Pack is the perfect solution for anyone who spends long hours sitting, whether you’re at work or working from home.

    Want an unfair advantage in the fight against sitting? Find a nearby BEMER distributor to get started today.

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    BEMER does not provide any medical advice or services. This device is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It should not be used for any purpose other than as described in the user manual. Please consult your own healthcare provider if you have any medical issues.

    BEMER USA LLC is a leader in the field of microcirculation. BEMER Group North America, 1989 Palomar Oaks Way, Carlsbad, CA 92011

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