If you are one of the millions of Americans that sit behind a desk for eight hours or more five days per week, then listen up. Sitting has been called “the new smoking” because of the wide range of health problems it can trigger.
Being in a seated position for an extended period of time not only makes your muscles tight, but it also leads to muscle weakness and strength imbalances, which can cause low back pain and joint discomfort.
If you find yourself chained to a desk for hours a day there’s one simple and effective exercise you can be doing to counteract the negative. It’s called the PLANK….and it only takes a few minutes a day. So when you’re ready for that coffee break or trip to the water cooler find a place to get in the plank position and hold for 1-3 minutes... You’ll be glad you did.
5 Ways that Planks Help Reverse the Effects of Sitting Disease
- Helps Reduce Lower Back Pain
Sitting at a desk for hours at a time can lead to lower back pain, the most common work-related back problem. Slumping back in your desk chair or slouching forward means your spine is out of alignment. That puts a strain on the ligaments and muscles in your back. Planking helps to reduce low-back pain by improving your core strength. Having a strong core takes pressure off your back and makes it easier to maintain good posture while sitting.
- Encourages Good Posture
The reality is that most of us don’t remember to sit up straight and maintain good posture while seated. When sitting for long periods of time, we tend to slouch which disengages the core. This is why sitting at a desk all day can reduce core strength and damage posture. Planks help you develop isometric strength in your core muscles, which improves your posture by giving you the power to keep from hunching while standing or sitting for long periods of time.
Having good posture is crucial because it means your bones and joints are in the correct alignment. A good posture will also ensure that your spine is in the correct position so you will suffer less back pain.
- Reduces Shoulder Pain
Most people who sit at a desk also stare at a computer which causes the body to lean forward and slouch the shoulders. It’s even worse if you are using a laptop because it forces your neck in a downward position. Sitting with your shoulders in an improper position causes neck and shoulder pain. Planking strengthens your back, chest, shoulders, neck, and abs, which makes it easier to keep your shoulders back in the correct position while sitting.
- Improves Core Strength
When you sit slumped or hunched over in a chair, you aren't using your abdominal muscles at all. Weak abs can result in a tight back and an exaggerated back arch. This can cause limited mobility, which can carry through to the rest of your life.
Planks are one of the best core exercises you can do to strengthen and tighten your core. Unlike sit-ups and crunches, planks strengthen not only the six-pack muscles but also each of the surrounding muscles in your abdomen making them an overall more effective exercise.
- Re-aligns your pelvis
Sitting for long periods of time, especially with poor posture, makes your hip flexors tight, which can make it harder for your pelvis to rotate properly leading to compression and pain in the lower back. This weakens the spine as well as the abs, glutes, and hamstrings which can cause the pelvis to become misaligned. Planks can help reverse this by strengthening your abdominal muscles while holding your pelvis and hips in place