Sitting has become a part of our daily lives, we sit in our car on the way to work, we sit down all day at work, sitting while driving home, then most people end up planting their ass on the couch at home all night. Even if you get a solid hour workout in each day, that is simply not enough to reverse the effects from sitting all day. Sitting all day can lead to a myriad of problems, from neck and posture issues, to back pain, and hip tightness. These are all natural responses our bodies make to adapt to the environment we place ourselves in.
Here are my top 3 exercises for getting rid of the back pain that comes along with sitting all day, these can be done anywhere. Whether its first thing in the morning, after a long day at work, or before bed. There is no excuse to not build some movement into your day, especially if you are suffering from pain.
The first is Bird Dog, coined by Dr. Stuart McGill, a professor at the University of Waterloo, world-renowned expert in spine function. To set up the Bird Dog, begin on your hands and knees with your elbows shoulders and wrist in line. While your knees and hips are also in line, from here we will reach out with our opposite arm and leg. Not kicking the leg up, rather reaching long with the arm and leg.
Now that our core is fired up, we need to address the hips. By sitting all day we do our backside a major disservice, our Glutes are the most powerful and important muscle on our body. Our daily sitting habits cause out Glutes to “turn off”. When our Glutes aren’t working, our lower back is next in line, taking the brunt of the work. So, we want to learn how to “feel” our glutes. For this movement we will start on our back, dropping our heels down to the floor and pushing our hips up. BUT before we do that, we want to tuck our tail bone, thank about bringing your pelvis towards your bellybutton. From there you will drive your heels down and your hips up. We are going to hold this position for 3 sets of 30-60 seconds, we want to feel this in the Glutes.
We are going to finish off with some movement, our spine is mean to move and sitting all day locks up our back. This next exercise is called the Cat Cow, it focuses on brining movement to the spine, from our tailbone to our neck. We will start on our hands and knees, stacking the knee under the hip and she shoulders, elbows and wrists in line. From there we are going to arch our back, lifting our tailbone and chin towards the sky, simultaneously squeeze your shoulder blades together. Then, draw your tailbone and chin downward, while spreading your shoulder blades, rounding your spine. This is an excellent movement to do in the morning, just one set of 8-10 reps is plenty.