If you must sit…

We are being inundated with information regarding the health risks associated with the amount of sitting that we do on a daily basis. The average Canadian sits for 10 hours a day. That’s crazy, isn’t it? It’s amazing how those hours add up. Starts with breakfast, commuting to work, sitting at a desk, lunchtime, more sitting at a desk, commuting home, dinner, and screen time (TV or computer). All of that counts as sitting. If that description doesn’t represent your lifestyle that’s great but chances are you are still spending quite a few hours a day sitting down. It’s too easy to do. It’s like we gravitate to the chair in the room. It’s time to break that habit.

Standing is certainly an option but sometimes we just have to sit down. When that happens, and it’s appropriate, sit on the floor. Seriously, there are huge benefits to sitting on the floor. First of all, we have to get ourselves down there, and ultimately we will have to get up again. Second, it is harder to slouch when sitting on the floor so that means the muscles of our core are engaged more and that means better posture. Third, it’s hard to get comfortable (avoid leaning on anything) so we will move around more than we would on a comfy couch. All that squirming increases caloric expenditure, and it keeps muscles and joints limber.

Once on the floor it is easy to add some much need stretching and mobility work. Here are some ideas for you (remember to always be gentle):

  • Sit up tall with your legs outstretched straight in front of you. Have you hands on the floor behind your back. Attempt to push your knees to the floor. You’ll likely feel a stretch in the back of your legs. 

  • From the previous position, spread your legs as wide was you can. Try turning your feet in and then out. Feel for where the muscles are tight and spend more time there. 

  • Move into the butterfly stretch by bringing your feet together and letting your knees fall out to the sides. Don’t push on your knees instead let gravity works it’s magic. 

  • The 90/90 position is amazing for hip mobility but it’s difficult to describe in writing so I recommend you look for it online. 

Part way through writing this article I realized that I was sitting on the couch. That’s how easy is it to forget that the option for sitting on the floor exists. I did move to the floor. I can’t have you thinking that I don’t follow my own advice.

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