Use movement breaks to improve your health and mental well being
With more people working from home, one of the most common new issues I am seeing in the clinic now is issues directly related to sedentary behaviours.
I have tried to encourage people to break up long periods of sitting and limit our recreational screen time to less than two hours at a time.
MOTION IS LOTION….. WE NEED TO MOVE!!!
Introducing some “movement snacks” or “mini-workouts” into our day can help to break up the periods of sedentarism and decrease the negative effects of this behaviour on our health. A simple way to do this is to set a timer for 20, 30 or 40 minutes and get up and walk around the house whenever the timer rings. Another option is to pick some specific task you do regularly at work and stand up or walk around whenever you do that activity. Phone calls, webinars or video conferences are good examples of opportunities to move. If neither of those approaches work, you can insert a little movement snack at transition points – between meetings, after finishing one task etc.
Going for a walk is great if all we want to do is reduce your sedentary time, but what else could you be doing with that time? what if it is lashing rain? can not leave the house because the kids are too young? maybe get them involved with some ‘movement snacks’?
Think of these simple tasks……..stretching your hip flexors? work on your shoulder stability? Core?
These “movement snacks” are the ideal time to address any of these concrete, bite-sized goals. You can pick a few target areas to slot into several of these snacks throughout the day.
Pick two to three movements at most. You don’t want to overload these breaks or they won’t be sustainable. The goal is to break up our periods of sedentarism, and at the same time address an area you know is prone to tighten, a weak area, if nothing less, it can help to improve much needed blood flow.
We are not trying to get in a complete workout or totally exhaust ourselves – these are not two-minute high-intensity interval training sessions.
Here are some ideas for movement snacks that target common areas:
- 10x 5s hold of an active isolated hip flexor stretch.
- 10x 5s hold of an active isolated calf stretch.
- 10x 5s hold of an active isolated hamstring stretch
- 8-10 reps I-Y-T shoulder raises with a light weight-
- 8-10 reps stretch-band- shoulder retraction pull apart squeezes
- 8-10 reps Rotator cuff bilateral external rotations with a stretchy band
- 30s front plank (with variations if you want)
- 30s side plank on each side
- 15 bird dogs
Hip Stability and Lower Body Control:
- 20 ¼ or MINI squats on each side
- 15 one-leg bridge per side
- 8-10 single-leg Romanian deadlifts on each side
Each of these movement sequences should take you no more than two to three minutes. This is enough to break up those long periods of sitting and bring you the associated health benefits, but also to help you achieve your movement goals