Methods to create dynamic sitting options on a daily basis.
Sitting can cause so much back and hip discomfort.
When we sit for long periods of time we hold the muscles in long-term shortness or in deep relaxation. Muscles such as the Psoas, Rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques and the Transverse Abdonminis all play a role whether in engagement or relaxation. When we sit, leaning a little forward, with no engagement of the abdominal muscles, they can begin to atrophy. It takes more and more effort to keep them tuned up and in shape. Trying to combat 8 hours a day of passive sitting takes a lot more than 30 minutes of exercise.
One way to keep the belly muscles engaged is to engage in deep breathing. Making sure that our exhalations are deep and complete, and engaging the deep muscles of respiration on the exhale. If you can consciously come into complete and deep exhalations as often as possible during the day, passive sitting becomes more dynamic and healthy for the body. One method is to exhale through pursed lips to engage the belly muscles in support of an active exhale. You can also exhale in short ha-ha-ha-ha breaths through the nose. No one will even know you are doing this and it will not disturb those around you. And of course, laughter. Laughing is a wonderful way to engage belly muscles.
Cross your right ankle over your left thigh (like a man will cross his legs). If that is not available simple cross one leg over the other knee to knee or ankle to ankle. Lean slightly forward until you feel a bit of tugging sensation on the outside of your right hip (be careful this is not hurting your knee). This activity will help move the piriformis muscle that attaches from the sacrum to the hip joint, and can often feel like a sciatic flare up.This pose is a modified Pigeon or Thread the Needle pose in yoga.
Get up, stand up, and stretch the psoas muscle. This can be done by standing with feet side by side, then take a step back with your right foot (approximately 2-3 foot distance if possible). Bend your left knee and raise your arms upward. Repeat the complete action 3-5 times on each side. This allows the psoas to stretch, creates a slight extension of the spine and improves balance after sitting for a while. Susan of Rooted Mama Health recommends this stretch be done on a daily basis as well as done prior to going to bed. This is yoga pose is called Warrior 1, and has multiple benefits.
Avoid twisting exercises while seated. After sitting for a long time, compression may have take place on the discs between the vertebrae. Twisting can cause even more uneven pressure. It is better to stand up, and find a mild back extension such as the above described Warrior 1 pose.