10 Exercises To Undo The Spinal Damage Caused By Sitting

Fix Your Health Problems With These Simple Yoga Poses (Incl. Images)

According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the average person spends more than half of his or her waking hours in activities that require sitting (watching TV, commuting to and from work, sitting at a computer, etc).

According to a scientific report published in the medical journal, Current Cardiovascular Risk Rep, sitting too much can be as harmful as secondhand smoking.

Some studies show a correlation between sitting too much and higher rates of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease. Sitting too much is even linked to early death.

Sitting too much can also damage your back and it is linked to chronic back pain and poor posture.

You can prevent the harmful effects of sitting by doing the following 10 stretches on a regular basis. These 10 yoga stretches can help you increase strength and flexibility, and prevent pain in your back and knees.

Why Yoga Stretches Can Undo the Damage of Sitting Too Much

Yoga has been originated in India and has been practiced for thousands of years. This ancient mind-body practice became part of our modern days and symbolizes peace and well-being. Nowadays more than 20 million Americans practice yoga according to the 2012 Yoga in America study.

Many studies have been published on yoga that suggest that it is an effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility, breathing and balance, as well as reduce stress and increase mental abilities. According to HNS website, there is even some evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease, aches and pains.

The main components of yoga are series of movements (postures) designed to increase strength and flexibility, and are aimed to unite the mind, the body, and the spirit. So if you haven’t practised yoga so far or you don’t do it regularly, give it a chance and after a while you will feel more peaceful, fitter and become more aware of your body’s posture and movement.

Here are ten yoga postures for you to try at home:

Chair Pose

This pose improves posture, stretches the spine and strengthens the front of the thigh.

Stand on the floor, your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your arms upward while your palms are facing each other. Bend your knees and place your butt backwards as if sitting into a chair. Tuck your tummy in and your tailbone to maintain straight back. Place all your weight on your heels and make sure that your knees don’t pass your toes. Hold for a minute while deep breathing.

chair pose

Warrior II

This pose helps to strengthen the core muscles and stretches the arms, legs and chest. Stand on the floor with your feet spread apart. Turn your feet to the right – your right foot points towards the front, and your left foot points to the left (see illustration). Place your hands parallel with the floor at shoulder height so that the right arm is straight out in front of you and your left arm is straight out behind you. Your palms face down. Now bend your right knee to 90 degree angle. Hold your belly in and deeply breathe. Stay in this position for several deep breaths and repeat on the other side.

warrior 2

Downward Facing Dog

This pose strengthen your upper body and increases circulation. It also stretches the spine and leg muscles. Place your hands and feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Then press strongly through your hands and lift the knees so your legs are straight. You can keep your knees slightly bent if you cannot straighten them. Walk your hands forward (don’t lock your elbows) and your feet backward to elongate the pose (see illustration). Press your heels down towards the floor (they might not touch the floor), and press your thighs backwards. Your head and neck should be kept relaxed. Breathe deeply and stay in this position for about 1 minute.

Downward Facing Dog

Squat Pose

This pose stretches your lower back, inner thighs, hips and ankles. Stand on the floor with your legs shoulder-width apart and turn your toes out. Hold your palms together in front of you like in prayer pose. Bend your knees and squat down deeply. Gently press your elbows to the inside of your knees while opening up the chest (see illustration). Hold for about 1 minute.

squat pose

Plank Pose

This pose strengthens your upper body while only using your body weight. While you are on the floor, press your palms and bring your chest forward. Your shoulders are directly over your hands. Press your heels backwards (your feet should be shoulder-width apart), and extend your neck and head forward to create a straight line of your body (see illustration). Keep your belly firm and your hips lifted while you press with your heels. Stay in this position for about 1 minute.

plank pose

Boat Pose

This pose strengthens the core muscles. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Lean back slightly, bend you knees and lift your feet off the floors so they are  in a 45 degrees angle. Place your arms straight in front of your palms facing each other. Then start to straighten your legs. Hold for a couple of deep breaths and slowly lower down. Repeat a few times.

boat pose

Bridge Pose

This pose stretches your hips, strengthens the back of the upper leg muscles (hamstrings) and the butt.

Lie down on your back and place your hands alongside your body, palms down. Bend your legs and keep your feet flat on the floor shoulder-width apart. Your knees should be aligned with your toes. Lift your hips and back until only the base of your shoulder blades remains on the floor. Hold this position for s few deep breaths. Lower your hips and repeat several times.

bridge pose

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

This pose stretches the hips, shoulders and the spine. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Now bend your left knee and take your left foot outside of the right hip as in the illustration. Bend your right arm and press your right elbow to the outside of the left knee. Your spine is now twisted while you are looking at the wall behind you. Hold for a few deep breaths and repeat on the other side.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

Locust Pose

This pose stretches and strengthens your spine and lower back. Lie on the ground with your face down. Lift your legs off the floor while they are pressed together. Now lift your arms backwards while lifting your chest. Hold this position for about a minute.

locust pose

Child’s Pose

This pose opens and stretches the hips, quads and lower back. Kneel on the floor while you sit on your heels, your knees are shoulder-width apart and your upper body between the thighs. Your forehead touches the ground. Place your arms straight in front of you. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Stay in this position for at least 1 minute.

child's pose

Related: Why Sitting Too Much Is Slowly Killing You and What You Can Do About It (Evidence Based)

The benefits of good posture may be among the best kept secrets and it’s also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health.

Read my other TOP training and exercise guides:
1. Top 13 Exercises to Strengthen Your Back and Reduce Back Pain
2. 6 Simple Exercises to Get Rid of Jiggly Arms
3. Get a Flat Tummy at Home with These 8 Simple Exercises

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