With the holiday season coming up many of us (or at least the lucky ones) will be jet setting or travelling around the world. Unfortunately sitting for hours in cars, trains or on planes can often leave us feeling a bit worse for wear.
Luckily, there are a handful of very simple exercises and tips to help reduce the aches and pains associated with prolonged sitting postures. As always, all the exercises should be pain free!
- Sit in an upright position with a small cushion or lumbar roll behind your lower back to help maintain your normal spinal curves
- Get up and move around every hour, or as often as possible
- Make sure your car seat has been adjusted specifically for you. Often long drives mean sharing the load of driving so take some time to adjust your seat and position
- Pelvic tilts in sitting
- Sitting with your hips in a neutral position and your hands placed over your hip bones
- Gentle ‘tuck’ your tail bone under your hips, slowly scoop your belly button towards your spine and draw the bottom of your ribs towards your hip bones. Try and keep your upper back, shoulders and neck still during this movement
- Once at the bottom of the tilt, reverse your movement and slowly roll upwards (tip – imagine you have a piece of string attached the top of your head and you are being pulled up towards the ceiling)
- Repeat this exercise 10 times every 1-2 hours
- Lumbar extensions
- Standing with your hands on your hips and feet hip width apart. Gently lean your upper body backwards so you create a small arch in your lower back
- If this exercise causes any discomfort another alternative is performing this exercise against the wall. Facing the wall, stand 30-40cm away from the wall and place both forearms against the wall (you should be in a standing plank position) and let your hips drop towards the wall
- Repeat this exercise 10-15 times every 1-2 hours
- Roll-down in standing
- Standing with your feet hip width apart and making sure your pubic bone and sternum are in line. Hands gentle resting on your thighs
- Gently roll your chin towards your chest, then chest towards ribs, ribs towards belly button, belly button towards hips and let your hand slowly run down your thighs towards the floor.
- Concentrate on each level of your spine and try to move each segment individually. Once you are at the bottom of your movement slowly restack your spine and roll back up to your starting position
- Repeat 6-8 times, initially starting very slowly then gradually easing closer to the floor
- Upper body reaches in standing or sitting
- Standing with your feet hip width apart and in pelvic neutral
- Raise both hands above your head
- Look up towards your right hand as you gently reach your right hand towards the ceiling. Feel the length and gentle stretch along the right side of your waist and torso.
- Alternate the reaches between your left and right hand, repeat 10 times every few hours
- Thoracic rotations
- Standing tall in your neutral position
- Raise both arms away from your sides so they are in line with your shoulders.
- Gentle rotate your upper body to the right while you simultaneously rotate your hips and lower body to the left. This should produce a gentle stretch and twist in your middle back.
- Repeat 10 times, alternating between left and right every few hours
Remember, none of these exercises should feel painful in your back. If you do feel pain yo should stop the exercise and seek advice. If you are a long-term sufferer of lower back pain or are a frequent traveller, come in to see us at Bend + Mend in Sydney’s CBD so we can give you some other helpful exercises or advice specifically targeted to your needs!