By JiJi Russell
Contributor, Sports & Fitness Network
Do you ever have a day when you find it difficult to un-glue your buttocks from your desk chair? And how does your body feel after such a day? …Stiff? Achey? Tired? No wonder!
A little bit of movement throughout your day can help you ward off the aches and pains. Yoga is a wonderful do-anywhere activity that anyone can learn. Even “easy” exercises like yoga and walking can fight agains the two big ills of prolonged sitting: slower metabolism of blood glucose and lower levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the blood. Each of these well-documented blood chemistry phenomonea arise from sitting more than 40% of one’s daily hours and can lead to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Let’s Do a Little Yoga
Below are two office-ready yoga poses that particularly help the spine, which quickly becomes compressed as we sit…and sit…and sit.
Even if the poses seem “simple,” do remain slow and mindful as you enter into them and hold them. If you can engage a deep, yogic-style of breathing as you hold each pose, all the better.
Forward Bend at the Wall
Stand facing a wall. Place your hands about shoulder-width apart with the tops of your fingers just below shoulder height. Take a few steps backwards and attempt to elongate your spine into a forward bend. As long as the spine is long, with a little natural curvature at the lower back, it does not matter how far you go. If you can form an “L” shape with your trunk parallel to the ground, then do that, making a straight line from your hands, to shoulders, to hips. Otherwise a lesser bend in good form is best.
This pose elongates the spine, taking pressure of the low back; stretches the backs of the legs; and stretches and opens the shoulders, relieving shoulder/neck fatigue.
Stand facing a wall . Place your hands about shoulder-width apart with the tops of your fingers just below shoulder height. Step one foot just slightly behind you, pressing into the ball of that foot for balance. Try to “lift” your whole ribcage up and off your pelvis by standing very erect. Begin to raise your chest upward, followed by your head, making an arc of your upper body, as you “reach” up and away from the wall, finding yourself in a small, arcing backbend position. Come out of the pose and switch to the other foot behind you.
This pose opens the chest and shoulders to help counter “computer slouch” and “drivers’ slouch”; stretches the spine into a back bending position, which it rarely experiences within a workday; and offers an energetic boost.