Sitting for how long is too much?
The exact definition of a sedentary lifestyle is when someone spends six or more hours per day sitting or lying down, and they lack significant physical movement in their daily life. As a matter of fact, many people sit over six hours per day, sitting for six hour per day is a threshold, human body is suppose to move much more as our bodies were not designed to sit for long periods of time.
Why is it so bad about prolonged periods of sitting
Humans are built to stand upright. The heart and cardiovascular system work more effectively that way. Research has linked sitting for too much time with a number of health concerns. Too much sitting, such as at desk, driving or in front of a screen, is a major cause of back pain, causing increased stress of the back, neck, arms and legs, adding a lot of pressure to the back muscles and spinal discs, eventually leading to pain on hamstring, lower back, hip and knee.
1. Hamstring pain from sitting too long
Sitting too much can shorten the hamstring muscles. As the hamstrings are attached at the sit bones and inserted below the knees, having the knees bent puts the hamstring muscles in a shortened position. Also, sitting weakens the gluteal and quadriceps muscles, causing the hamstring muscles to be overloaded, which ultimately leads to hamstring pain.
2. Lower back pain from sitting too long
Sitting for prolonged periods of time can be a major cause of back pain, cause increased stress of the back (especially lower back). Prolonged sitting can cause an increase in hamstring tightness which will pull on your butt bone. In response, the lower back muscle will tighten to counteract the hamstrings and cause pain in the lower back.
3. Hip pain from sitting too long
Your hips will not support you as well if you sit too long. Sitting causes your hip flexor muscles to shorten, which can lead to problems with your hip joints. Besides, sitting too much, especially if you have poor posture, can stretch out the tendons in the hips. This can lead to tendinitis, or inflammation in the hip tendons. Tendinitis might cause hip pain when sitting, walking, and lying down.
4. Knee pain from sitting too long
At the mention of knee pain, many people link of knee injuries with sports injuries under the circumstances of overuse or the wear and tear of getting older. However, inactivity can also cause knee pain. Sitting too much of time can cause your muscles and tendons become stiffen, and this can cause discomfort on the knees.
Four yoga poses to relieve pain caused by sitting too much
While more and more studies confirm the negative effects of a sedentary life, the good news is that people can actively address the wear-and-tear with some simple yoga poses. A ten minutes yoga routine can effectively relieve pain from sitting too long, hold each pose for a few breathes and repeat for three to four times.
1. Downward facing dog pose to relieve hamstring tight
Downward dog stretches and widens the hamstrings, also, in downward dog, your head is lower than your heart, so it has the benefits of inversions and improves the blood flow through your body.
- Start from an all fours position, bring your hands slightly forwards of your shoulders, remember to spread your fingers.
- Tuck your toes under, engage your lower belly drawing the navel back to the spine.
- Press through your hands and lift your hips back and up to bring yourself into an upside down V pose.
- Slide your shoulder blades down along the spine, collar bones spread. The base of the neck relaxed.
- Maintaining length in the spine.
- Stay for a few breaths and release
2. Child’s pose to relax your back
How to fix lower back pain from sitting too much? Child pose brings the spine into the opposite direction which avoid irritation, and in most scenarios, allows the traversing nerves to have more space. Hence calm down your body and mind. Also it stretches the muscles of the low back, as well as the inner thighs, helping alleviate lower back pain.
- Kneel and sit on your knees.
- Lean forward, keeping your buttocks on your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor.
3. Warrior 1 pose helps to stretch hip flexors
Warrior I pose strengthens and stretches your legs and buttocks, the front of your hips, and shins. In your front leg, this pose strengthens your thigh, calf, and ankle. In your back leg, it stretches the back of your hamstring and calf muscles. Also, it helps to build strength on hips and thighs to fix anterior pelvic tilt.
- Start from standing, step your right foot forward, with your foot parallel and toes pointing front, then bend your knee into a lunge.
- Turn your left heel in at approximately 45 degrees.
- Raise your arms straight above your head.
- Lift your chin to gaze at your hands overhead.
- Hold your pose for a few breaths then repeat on the other side.
4. Low lunge pose to relieve knee pain
It is advised that perform a low lunge exercise since it might help to loosen up stiff quads. Tight quadriceps can strain your knee joints similar to the adductors in your inner thighs, possibly creating harm.
- Lower your left knee to the floor, sliding the foot back until you feel a nice stretch in the left hip and thigh.
- Keep the hips low and level with each other.
- As you inhale, engage your lower belly and lift your chest away from the thigh, sweeping the arms up alongside your ears.
Final thoughts on how to relieve pain from sitting too long:
Besides from low impact workouts such as yoga and Pilates, the impact of movement, even leisurely movement, can be profound to reverse impacts brought by too much sitting. For starters, you’ll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, your ability to move and your mental well-being, especially as you age.