More than 80 percent of Americans sit all day. We sit at our desks, we sit in our cars, and we sit on our couches. It’s unavoidable. And, as you’ve probably heard, it’s bad for our health. Doctors have even coined the term “sitting disease” for the host of problems that sitting presents. This includes an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and metabolic syndrome.
What you may not realize is that the position of sitting could also be the reason you want to curl up for a nap in the afternoon. Luckily, the right kind of movement can combat these negative sitting effects, and you can do these exercises from your home office or other workplace for a quick pick-me-up.
How Sitting Affects Your Energy
We often don’t realize just how much our posture impacts our health. When your anterior contracts and your posterior is rounded, you effectively constrict the flow of oxygen through your body. In this rounded position, your spine is in a C-shape rather than its natural S-shape, cramping the diaphragm so that you can’t take full, deep breaths. What’s more, the C-shape in the spine tucks the hips under. When your psoas and hip flexors are tucked and unengaged like this, the body essentially collapses forward, crunching the vital organs into a smaller space.
Your energy flags post-lunch because you’ve spent the better half of the day collapsed forward and inert. When this happens, it’s all too easy to turn to sugar and caffeine. But what if there were a healthy, more holistic option?
The solution to activating the hips and improving posture is actually quite simple: Move more. We’re not saying you need to quit your job or stop watching your favorite TV show, just simply get up and move around every 30 minutes. While you’re at it, give your body a quick alignment prompt with the three dynamic movements below from Elev8d Fitness, the new home workout program from the experts at Sonima. This routine takes less than a minute and does wonders for shaking loose the cobwebs and improving your posture.
3 Moves to Boost Your Energy
The Active Cows Face requires you to stand up and engage the deep muscles around the shoulder blades (the rhomboid muscles, trapezius, and deltoid). This effectively opens up the front of the body, allowing more oxygen into your lungs and more blood flow to your head, heart, and vital organs.
Next, the Downward Dog Bent Knee activates the hip flexors and the psoas while also loading up the shoulder blades. By engaging these deep, core muscle groups, this static position ignites a higher intensity burn. A true total-body exercise, the Downward Dog Bent Knee positions your head below your heart, which brings increased blood flow (and oxygen) to the brain.
Lastly, the Standing Arm Circles strengthen the muscles between the shoulder blades while also requiring static resistance in the core muscles, especially the obliques. This may look like a shoulder exercise, but notice the perturbance in the abdominal wall; you are working your abs too. Hand position is key, and remember to keep your shoulders down and back.
In combination, these three movements reset posture and increase blood flow in less than a minute so you can sit back at your desk with a clearer head and more energy. What’s more, if you make a daily practice of these three movements, your posture will improve in the long run. Give it a try!
Active Cows Face | 15x Per Side
- Stand with your feet fist-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead. (You may even pigeon-toe them slightly.)
- Reach your arms out at shoulder height with palms facing forward so your body forms a “t” shape.
- Raise your right arm toward the ceiling, bending at the elbow so your hand reaches toward the center of your back. Simultaneously extend your left arm toward the floor, bending at the elbow to reach your left hand toward the center of your back, getting your right and left fingers as close to touching as possible.
- Return arms to their original position and repeat, moving your arms in the opposite direction to bring the left to the center of the back from above and the right from beneath. That’s 1 rep.
Downward Dog Bent Knee | 30 Seconds
- Start on hands and knees, then push into downward facing dog.
- Bend your knees slightly, without touching the ground.
- Hold this position as you pull the hips back to the heels, keeping the pelvis angled up and the back flat. You should feel this in the hip flexors.
Arm Circles | 40x
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead. Put your hands in a golfer’s grip: Make a thumb’s up and fold your fingers so the tips are on the top pads of your palms.
- Extend your arms out at your shoulders with your thumbs pointed forward, hands palms down, and shoulder blades pinched back.
- Keeping your shoulder blades pinched, circle your arms forward 20 times.
- Pause, then flip your hands palms up, thumbs pointed backward, and circle your arms backward 20 times.
Transform your body in as little as 8 minutes a day! Try the revolutionary new approach to fitness that helps you achieve better results by doing less. Check out Elev8d Fitness now on Vimeo.