This post, part of our special series on the Coronavirus outbreak, was written by Kat Adams, M.P.H. and BGCA Director of Sports & Recreation.
Upper bodies aren’t the only thing that can suffer from poor office ergonomics! Sitting all day, whether in front of a computer, a TV or eating at a table can do some damage. With daily routines altered, it’s easy to forget to move around.
Here’s what sitting without other movement does to your body:
- Weakens leg and glute muscles
- Shortens hip flexors
- Shortens calf muscles
- Shortens hamstrings
These things can cause hip and lower back pain and also make any posture issues you have worse. Ever heard someone complain about sciatica? Your piriformis is a muscle located deep in the butt. When you sit, this is the primary muscle that is engaged, so it can get really tight. And when it tightens and shortens it can put pressure on your sciatic nerve. Also known as? Sciatica.
Here are 4 stretches to loosen up your glutes and hips after long socially-isolated days in front of your computer.
This is an easy one to do on a quick break to get your blood moving.
- Stand up next to a wall and place a hand on the wall for balance (or a chair, or table, or counter).
- Swing your right leg backwards and forward. Start slow and low and build up to swinging as high and as far back as you COMFORTABLY can. Do about 10 to 20, then switch legs.
- Next, turn to face whatever you are using for balance and swing your right leg out to the right side and then across or body to the left. Again, start slow and low and build up to swinging as you COMFORTABLY can for 10 to 20 reps, then switch sides.
This is **the** hip flexor stretch. You might be surprised at how inflexible you feel when doing it, but doing it consistently can make a big difference in you hip mobility. And even though it’s called the couch stretch, you don’t need a couch to do it – it just makes it a wee bit more comfortable.
- Find your couch a chair with a back, or blank floor pace in front of a wall.
- Place or right knee and lower leg up against the back of the couch or wall. Your foot will be pointing up to the ceiling. Get your butt as close as you can to your right heel.
- Place the foot of your other leg on the floor.
- Slowly lift up your torso. Keep your whole back nice and straight – don’t arch your lower back to get your chest up. Move slowly. Stop when you feel a stretch in the front of your hip and hold for 30 seconds (or more!)
Downward Facing Dog
This foundational yoga pose is a great stretch for folks who sit all day, because it opens up your chest and shoulders while also providing a hamstring and calf stretch. It’s also easily modifiable for various levels of fitness or injuries.
- Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders, and knees under hips
- Tuck your toes under and push your hips up and back to make a triangle with your body.
- BEND YOUR KNEES IF YOU NEED TO! If you sit all day or do a lot of running or biking, your hamstrings are likely pretty tight, and keeping your legs straight in this pose will be painful or cause you to compromise the position of your upper body. By bending your knees, you can reduce the strain (while still getting a stretch!) and keep your upper body in a straight line.
- Once you’re in the pose you can warm up and stretch your calves and hamstrings more by “pedaling” or bending one leg a time while keeping the other straight. You can do this as long as you want, just make sure you keep your upper body strong and straight.
- If you have any issues with your wrists or prefer not to have all of that blood rush to your head, you can modify this pose by using a chair or the wall. Here’s a video tutorial that shows how to use a chair.
- Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor.
- Cross your right ankle over your left knee and keep your right foot flexed.
- Bring your left knee toward your chest. Reach your right hand through your legs and interlace your fingers just below the crease of your left knee.
- Use your arms to gently pull your left knee towards your chest until you feel a stretch in your glute and hip, then and hold for 30.
Be sure to check out last week’s post on Stretches for Deleting Tech Neck!
Check back in with the ClubX Blog often for more ideas and resources on how to maintain your mental and emotional well-being during this challenging time. Stay safe. Wash your hands. Take care of yourself. We are in this together!
Get the latest updates from BGCA at BGCA.net/Coronavirus, find programming ideas at MyFuture.net, like the BGCA Youth Development on Facebook for YD updates including video from Sarah, and join the brand new BGCA Youth Development Community also on Facebook to connect with other Club staff on programming through coronavirus.