Sit much? A few things you should know…..
- Sitting for over six hours a day for a decade or two can cut away about seven quality adjusted life years (the kind you want).
- It increases your risk of dying of heart disease by 64 percent and your risk of colon, breast and endometrial cancer increases by 20-30 percent.
- Sitting leads to trouble managing glucose and increases the risk for type II diabetes.
Even if you are doing the recommended minimum of half an hour of aerobic activity a day, you need to make sure you don’t sit the rest of the day, according to Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society. Getting up and taking breaks from sitting within every hour is a start, but according to a few studies, even that is too long. The more you get up, the better off you’ll be. Currently, there is not a scientifically proven time limit for sitting, although one doctor suggested 2 minutes of standing per 20 minutes of sitting.
Sitting also creates bad posture, which can lead to pain, stiffness, tension, and headaches.
Try the yoga poses below on your standing breaks, for not just physical, but mental benefits as well. Recommended: 30 sec-1 minute hold minimum on each side. Hold longer if your breath remains normal during the pose.
1. Open your armpits!
Tight shoulders can make it difficult to keep your shoulders back and contribute to poor body alignment. Tight shoulders can lead to neck pain, stiffness and headaches. In addition to negating some of the physical effects of hunching over a computer or driving, these poses bring increased mental focus, clarity, and raise your spirits. They are good to do if you’re feeling low on energy or depressed.
“If you open the armpits, then the brain becomes light. You cannot brood or become depressed.” B.K.S. Iyengar
2. Open your hips!
Opening your hips improves circulation to your pelvic region and the organs within it, which is good for digestion, elimination, and reproductive health. This is important to counteract the effects of sitting at your desk or in your car. These poses below excite the nervous system, raise the heart rate and get your energy up, so they are also good for lethargy and melancholy.
Opening the groin and pelvic area also induces a sense of overall well being. You create balance through stability and concentration, and focus through concentrating on stability. It can also give you more courage.
My lovely model is Rachel Mathenia, Assistant Director of 12South Yoga studio and a certified Iyengar yoga instructor who has been studying therapeutic applications of yoga for 10 years. What I love about Iyengar yoga is that it improves flexibility, AND stability and strength. I’ve been working one-on-one with her since 2012, and during that time I have learned many valuable insights on how my body and mind operates, and how to go about making them better. I highly recommend trying out at least a few private sessions with her.
Email [email protected] to set up private instruction.
To your good health,
Licensed Massage and Physical Therapist, Breathwork