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Sitting too long got you down

Published on August 23, 2016

Sitting too long got you down?

Alyssa Monson, Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Weight Management

Sitting too longSitting for longer than 30 minutes can slow circulation and breathing, making you feel sluggish. Not to mention your muscles get stiff and your posture begins to slump. Not good right? Whether you are in a meeting or pain/injury has you stationary, sometimes you might be unable to get up and move or even stretch out your muscles to combat these effects. Make the most of your seated time and try out the seated exercises below.

To begin, make sure you are seated in a firm chair that has a sturdy back and allows you to sit upright. Do not use a couch or recliner for these exercises. Bring a straight backed chair to the living room if you want to do them while watching television.  

  • Pump both ankles up and down 10 times.
  • Tighten your buttocks and hold for the count of 10. Relax. Repeat three times
  • March in place while sitting. Make sure to bring your knees as high as you can. Work up to 2-3 minutes at a time.
  • Place your hands on your shoulder (right hand on right shoulder, left hand on left shoulder). Squeeze your shoulder blades together gently by pushing your elbows back as far as possible.
  • Sit up tall and press your lower back against the back of the chair and tighten your abdominal muscles and exhale. Hold for a count of 10 and relax. Repeat five times
  • Shrug your shoulders until you feel slight tension in your neck and shoulders, hold for 3-5 seconds and release. Repeat three times.
  • Press your lower back firmly in to the back of the chair making sure to sit up straight. Engage your abdominal muscles by thinking about pressing your belly button into your spine. Extend one leg straight and hold for a count of 10. Switch legs and repeat four times. For added intensity, make sure to tighten your thigh muscles while holding your leg up. You also may alternate pointing and flexing your foot while holding your leg up parallel to the ground.

Try working in these exercises once per day until you feel comfortable and add in more mini seated sessions as possible. You can complete all of them in one session or work them in throughout the day for mini energizing sessions.

These exercise should NOT replace your usual activity routine. Only add these exercises in when time or other circumstances do not allow for you to get up and move your body.

Health information accessed through is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We strive to present reliable, up-to-date health information on our web site and “For the Health of It” blog. However, this information is not intended for the purpose of diagnosing or prescribing. Please contact your health care provider if you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health. Log in to MyChart to send a secure message to your provider.

About the Author

Alyssa Monson, RD

Alyssa Monson
Registered Dietitian
CentraCare Weight Management
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