Sit At A Desk All Day Long? This Is One Exercise You Need To Know
Sitting is the new smoking, haven’t you heard? The chair is out to kill us. A sedentary lifestyle is the opposite of what our bodies were designed to do, and the more we sit, the worse it is for our metabolic health. So is there something we can do to ease the damage?
Sports medicine specialist, Dr Phoenyx Austin, told Thrillist, “Sitting all day can cause things like neck pain, low back pain, knee pain, excess body fat around your middle, and poor flexibility in the legs and hips. At the young age of 30 you could find yourself feeling like an overweight, frail old person who’s ready for a cane.”
That is obviously not ideal, and for those of us working desk jobs it’s important to try and go for a short walk every hour (even if it’s to the water cooler or bathroom). But if you really want to ensure you’re counteracting the negative effects of your sedentary position, there’s a really easy exercise you can do, and considering all the time you’ve spent sitting around, you’ve already been half-practicing it: all you have to do is pop a squat.
“This exercise is the yoga squat, and all you have to do is take a few minutes to stand up from your desk every hour, and squat,” says Dr Austin. And if you want to sound official should someone ask what the hell you’re doing at your desk, the Sanskrit name is Malasana.
Dr Austin’s guide to nailing a yoga squat
#1 Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
#2 “Bend your knees and drop your hips toward the floor as if you were sitting in a chair. Go as low as you can, and keep your heels flat on the floor. Don’t roll to the outer or inner edge of the foot while squatting,” Dr Austin says. “If your feet roll or your heels come up from the ground, you’ve gone too far and need to ease back up (at least for now). Keep in mind that over time, as your flexibility improves, you’ll be able to dip lower and lower into a deeper squat without foot or heel issues.”
#3 “Once you’re in your comfortable and lowest squatting position, press your hands together in front of your chest, or into prayer pose. Use the back of your upper arms (or your elbows) to press against the inner part of your knees. This encourages the hips to loosen up.”
#4 “Remember to keep your back straight while you’re in squatting position (so you’re not leaning over) and keep your gaze ahead of you. With time and daily practice your squatting posture will improve so much that you’ll be able to keep your back upright and flat like you were leaning against a wall. At this point, you’re squatting like a pro!”
So next time you feel a bit stiff and sore at your desk, stop, drop and squat.