Yes, despite your best intentions at the gym, sweating it out does not counteract the long hours spent sedentary in a seat. Another way of saying this is just because one does their 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day doesn’t ensure good health. These are two distinct factors; we definitely need both, we need exercise and need to be sitting less. When we sit and sit a lot, our health is the first thing that suffers. The most sedentary people in the analyzed studies were more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease than people who spend less time sitting. It makes you want to ditch your desk chair ASAP, huh? We live in a world that is very conducive to excess sitting, so it’s a good idea to pay some attention to these health risks and skew our lifestyle habits in a slightly more favorable way.
What You Can Do
Fortunately, there’s a super-simple exercise you can start doing right now to help counteract all the nasty effects that come with all that sitting. Here are simple daily habits and mobility exercises to help you counteract the consequences of sitting. The first thing you can do is the yoga squat, and all you have to do is take a few minutes to stand up from your desk every hour and do a yoga squat. Or even better, you can also start taking short walks every hour in addition to yoga squatting to give your body a break from all that sitting.
Deep Belly Breathing
It may sound simple, but dysfunctional breathing is an often-overlooked issue. While there are many forms of dysfunctional breathing patterns the common issues are breathing in through the mouth, and upper chest breathing instead of diaphragmatic or deep belly breathing. When we sit a lot, this position lends itself to developing poor breathing habits and along with that a whole host of other issues like muscle tightness, mobility restrictions, lack of core stability, elevated stress response, tiredness, poor oxygenation of the body, and lethargy. To get the correct diaphragmatic breathing, it would be best to lie flat on your back with your knees bent and place one hand on your belly and another hand on your chest.
Close your eyes and picture a balloon being inflated in your belly. As you breathe through your nose, imagine your belly inflating as it rises. There should be little movement in your chest. As you begin to exhale your belly should go down. Once you can do this, focus on slowing down your breathing to a count of 4-5 fr each inhale and 4-5 for each exhale. This will also actually help you calm your nervous system and make beneficial physiological changes within your body. This can take some time and practice. The more you do this, the more you will become aware of how you’re breathing throughout the day.