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Mercy Sports Medicine: Counteract Sitting All Day at Work

By Daniel Herrin, MS, ATC
Certified Athletic Trainer, Mercy Sports Medicine

As a society, we all spend way too much time in the sitting position. This puts us at a disadvantage when it comes time for our workouts and exercise routines. No matter if you run every day of the week or once a week, here are a few tips that can help counteract the postural deficits we acquire from prolonged bouts of sitting.

Make Subtle Changes in Your Workday – For those whose jobs or school settings require extensive time spent in a chair, try to allow yourself a minute or two every 30 minutes to stand up and stretch a bit. Spend your lunch break on your feet instead of sitting at a table. Try to incorporate simple exercises within your workday to better engage your core, like diaphragm breathing or pelvic tilts. While sitting at your desk, try to maintain good posture with the hips, shoulders, and head in neutral position (opposite of the common hunched over position many assume).

Spend More Time Warming Up for Workouts/Exercise – If the gluteal muscles along with the rest of our core muscle group have become inactive from prolonged bouts of sitting, then it is important to create pre-exercise routines to help activate those groups for injury prevention purposes. Breathing exercises can help initiate the foundation of our core stability before exercising. Glute activation can be achieved through hip extension exercises like double and single leg bridges. More dynamic warm up exercises include performing lunges in all four directions, along with alternating split squats.

Being Aware and Having a Plan – Setting daily time limits on how long we may allow ourselves, and more importantly our children, to use iPads or browse on our mobile phones. Instead of a casual morning routine of watching the news while eating breakfast, finish the meal first and then take the additional time to perform yoga exercises in front of the television. Each individual has their own unique habits and routines specific to their day, but the key is to first identify those habits that may negatively impact our posture (i.e., long bouts of sitting), and then make realistic adjustments that can better influence good posture and be consistently replicated throughout the week.

If you have questions or would like details on implementing this advice, email Daniel at Daniel.Herrin@mercy.net.