How many hours have you been sitting at your desk today? If you're closing in on three or more, you're probably already feeling the effects — tight hips from hunching over in your chair, a sore neck from looking up or down at your computer screen, scrunched shoulders and achy wrists. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys shows that 50 to 70 percent of Americans spend six or more hours sitting a day. You don't need us to tell you that that is brutal on your body. So, we called up celebrity trainer and fitness expert Ashley Borden to find out what we can do to combat the aches and pains of being stuck at a desk all day (you know, without resorting to full-on yoga on top of your desk).
"The No. 1 problem with sitting is that it shuts off your core and glutes, which then leads to an array of body issues," explains Borden. "Tight shoulders, a tight chest, tight hip flexors, a lower ab pooch and a flabby tush are the most common body complaints of people who sit in their profession. A big mistake people make is that they sit for marathon periods of time without breaking it up to stretch. You can't binge stretch later on to correct these issues. You have to pay attention to your body’s aches and pains in the moment, to keep things mobile."
So, to avoid feeling like a total slug by 11 a.m., add this series of stretches to your work to do list. Pushing through it at least three times a day will help you still feel human by happy hour.
KNEELING QUAD STRETCH
Start in a kneeling position on both legs, then take your right leg forward, placing your foot flat on the floor and creating a 90-degree angle. The toes of your back leg should be curled under. Squeeze your glutes hard and tuck your tailbone under to open up your quads and hip flexors. Place your hands on your knee and raise your chest high. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides.
WALKOUT HAMSTRING STRETCH
Start in standing position. Inhale your arms up over your head, then exhale, hinging forward at your hips until you're folded all the way down with your hands on the floor. Walk your hands all the way out until you're in a push-up position. Hold the plank, then drive your heels down and drive your hips up, walking your hands back toward your feet, feeling the hamstring stretch in your legs. Tuck your chin to your throat, then roll your body all the way to standing position.
Start by sitting on your butt with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Leaning back, place your palms and forearms on the floor. Collapse down in your shoulders, so your lower back touches the floor, then push through your shoulders, raising your chest to the ceiling and straightening your spine. Sink back down and repeat.
LYING HIP STRETCH
Lying on the floor helps avoid bad posture and bad form. Start on your back with your feet up against a wall, both legs bent at a 90-degree angle. Cross your right leg over your knee at the ankle. Using your right arm, push your knee gently toward the wall and slowly drop the knee down toward the floor to open up your hips and glutes (and to alleviate back pain). Hold for two minutes, then repeat on the other side.
DOORWAY CHEST STRETCH
Open arms out to the side in 90-degree angles. Walk toward doorway and let forearms and wrists touch door frame. Take a staggered stance, one leg slightly in front of the other, in the doorway, and gently push chest forward to help open up your chest and biceps (to combat rounded shoulders and poor posture). Hold for 30 seconds.
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