5 Exercises To Undo The Spinal Damage Caused By Sitting

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5 Exercises To Undo The Spinal Damage Caused By Sitting
Photo © Sebastian Kaulitzki – fotolia.com

According to a study published in the January 2015 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, more than half of the average person’s waking hours [1] are spent on activities that require sitting – including watching television, commuting, or working at a desk. This research gathered data from 47 studies on the health effects of sedentary behavior. It revealed a correlation between the length of time spent sitting and higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, [2] cancer, [3] and cancer-related deaths.

Sitting for too long has a negative impact on the health of your spine. Stiffness and debilitating back pain [4] are the most common spinal issues caused by sitting all day. Eventually, this pain will have an impact on your ability to exercise, run, and do other physical activities – leading to a downward spiral.

To undo the harm of sitting for hours, there are a few simple exercises that you can do on a regular basis. These five stretches can help you regain your full range of motion and combat pain in your knees and lower back.

1. Fire Hydrants

This exercise is known as fire hydrants because you will look like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant! To perform this stretching activity, get on all fours and raise your leg out to the side as high as you can. Then lower your leg and repeat as many as possible. You need to perform several repetitions to work your lower body and improve stability.

2. Leg Swings

This exercise is ideal for loosening up your hips. First, stand and hold something for balance. Second, swing your leg back and forth as high as it will go. You can go front-to-back with each leg at first, and then do side-to-side. Fifteen to twenty swings for each type are recommended.

3. Grok Squat

Grok squat is designed to help prevent stiffness. It is an exercise that involves stretching your legs, back and groin. To perform it, simply get into a squatting position and stay there for several seconds. You have to keep your feet on the floor and your back straight while maintaining your squat as low as you can go.

4. Glute Bridges

Your hips, glutes, and abs need this exercise to help restore your range of motion. You can do this exercise in five to ten reps. Lay down on your back, with your knees bent and feet placed flat on the floor. Then, raise your butt and hips, so your body forms a straight line. The next step is to lower yourself back down. You can add a weight on your belly or across your hips if you find the exercise too easy.

5. Couch Stretch

This one is very convenient even while you are watching television. Put your one leg on the floor while the other one is on the couch. Your knee and the back of the couch should be touching each other. Then, flex your butt and abs slowly, raising the torso up. Hold this position for a minute if possible, then switch legs.

The exercises discussed should be done regularly because they are good for you when you are sitting too long. Walking is another way to break your sedentary corporate life, and it is also possible while you are working. You can take the stairs instead of ride an elevator from one floor of your office building to another.

See also:

Why Sitting Down All Day Is Actually Killing You + 7 Tips To Save Your Health


[1] Biswas A et. al. 2015. Annals of Internal Medicine. Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

[2] Wilmot EG. 2012. Diabetologia. Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis.

[3] Proper KI et. al. Sedentary Behaviors and Health Outcomes Among Adults A Systematic Review of Prospective Studies.

[4] Chen SM et. al. 2009. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health. Sedentary lifestyle as a risk factor for low back pain: a systematic rev.

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