Wednesday 16 March 2016

Healthier way to sit

Most people, athletes or not, find it difficult to find  time to do some flexibility work on their bodies. Flexibility is not just about increasing our range of movement. It provides us with both our shock absorption and rebound facilities. Flexibility helps maintain our bodies rather like a magic super ball. It allows us to use rebound energy, which makes us more efficient and also reduces our likelihood of injury.
Sitting for hours at a time, as many of us have to, stiffens the body, particularly the hips. It isn't necessary to spend hours at the gym to balance this out,  you can make some very positive changes as you sit around.

Here are some simple healthier options:

You can do your flexibility training as you sit around. It doesn't take gym time. It just involves doing what you did as a child.

Simply kneel.  surprisingly many adults cannot manage this simple human position. The quads (the long muscles running up the front of your thigh) have become too short. Re-training your body to manage this position can reduce if not completely clear some types on knee pain. If this position is not attainable you can make it easier for yourself by sitting on a cushion. 

Kneeling with cushion will take some of the strain off of the knees. 
Some find that their feet are uncomfortable in this position; there is not enough ankle flexibility. If this is the case you can try putting a cushion or a rolled up towel under the feet until they too relax out and become more supple.
Use a stool. For some even the cushion position will be difficult. If so you can try a small stool instead. I usually suggest that people keep a little footstool in front of the telly or that you do your e-mails in this position. Make it habitual and do something else at the same time so that you are more likely to keep it up. 
You can make this into a fuller stretch by reaching up. In this way, you not only stretch the leg muscles but also those that attach to them further up the body. If you imagine the muscles as a line of attached rubber bands running from the foot right up to your fingertips, you can visualise that in doing this you are using the pull of the further away bands to exert a pull on the lower bands. If you find this stretch difficult to accomplish you may have to lean against the wall to help you stretch up. Adding this extra pull from the muscles further up the line will increase your flexibility and ultimately make movement more comfortable.

Kneel down to the floor. If you are reasonably flexible you may be able to manage this position. This allows for a much deeper stretch of the quads but it is important to take care.You will notice our model's posture has collapsed a little. Other muscles in her body are finding this quite a difficult position. She should not hold it for long.

Sit with legs splayed. This is another simple position to practice. It is a common position to find little girls playing and is good for maintaining hip flexibility and for lengthening the hamstring (the long muscles at the back of the thigh). The bottom of the pelvis should be on the ground. The hip should not be rotated to ensure that you do not roll back onto the tail bone.
Crossing the legs. This is another option to move into and out of. Changing position will help improve hip mobility, keep the hips healthy and supple and help protect the knees.