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The Top 3 Exercises if You Sit All Day

Someone asked me recently, “Chad…if you could narrow down the three most effective movements for people who sit all day what would that be”?

I’m getting more and more of these questions all the time, and it’s awesome!  Since we released our book The Sitting Solution, people around the world are starting to take interest in how they can manage their own bodies, improve their postures and get out of pain!

 

best stretches at desk

I thought this was a great question because it forced me to consider a few things about what makes these movements essential. Those metrics are:

These movements should be global

If I can only choose 3 movements I want movements that move the ENTIRE body and get as many joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments involved as I can. A simple hamstring stretch or a psoas release just won’t do it!

And remember, I’m looking for movements here, not just static stretching.

They should be in intentional and specific to chronic sitters

People who sit all day tend to have forward heads, rounded shoulders, slouching spines, tight hip flexors, weak abdominals, gluteal amnesia (aka weak glutes), tight hamstrings, and poor ankle mobility.

It’s true. I see this stuff all the time as a physical therapist and fitness coach!

Chronic sitters are usually in pain, have a high risk for injury and are typically unable to get into good positions when squatting, bending, pushing or pulling. Don’t get me started on running!

Sooooo… the movements should address all these things by mobilizing what is tight and strengthening what is weak.

Movement is about expression. We want to express the areas that are being neglected when we’re sitting for hours at computers or texting on the phone!

If you sit a lot, these need to be time effective

I used to create lengthy, in-depth mobility programs for people because I just KNEW if they did it their lives would transform! Ain’t nobody got time for that!

We live in a fast-paced world. If you’re sitting a lot, you are likely multi-tasking. You have deadlines at work. You’re driving, texting, talking on the phone, picking up kids, cooking dinner and managing a million other things!

How about we narrow this thing down to a short time frame that is realistic and manageable for anyone. Whether you are a high-powered CEO or stay-at-home mom.

I wondered if this could be accomplished in 1 minute. Everyone has 1 minute to spare, right?

After I considered all these things I now had a good model of what the prescription should look like to get you the most “bang for your buck”, so to speak. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: the 1-minute mobility hack!


As I mentioned, this movement routine is a bit more advanced and not appropriate for everyone.

However, you’ll likely find that if you stick to it with daily practice and really master these movements they can have a significant impact on your musculoskeletal health. Start adding this routine to your warm-ups and you’ll notice the difference immediately.

The other thing I want to mention is that you have to be REALISTIC! And by that, I mean 1 minute a day will not be enough to prevent yourself from ending up like our forward-head friend on the right up there (especially if you sit all day). However, this mobility hack is a good step in the right direction.

What you will need to do is move MORE throughout the day WHILE you’re at work.

When you do move, it’s incredibly important that your movements be:

  • in specific and intentional direction
  • variable and global
  • time effective (so your boss won’t fire you)

And a simple stand-up desk or expensive ergonomic chair is not enough.

These movements should also be appropriate for the workspace, as the movements I’ve shown here are likely not – unless you work at home or for Google.

What we’ve been missing in our lives is MOVEMENT!

This is what  “The Sitting Solution” is all about.

Learn more about The Sitting Solution

This is the ultimate guide in getting you out of pain, improving your posture and off-setting the negative effect sitting has on your body!

It’s always a pleasure to share with the Paleo community, and I feel grateful to be a part of a group that is making the world a better place.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below, and I’ll answer them as best and as soon as I can. Also, if you feel this is helpful please share with your friends!

Get up! Stand up! Move!

Men at Work picture licensed under the Creative Commons.

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