2 Fascia Exercises That Will Balance Out Endless Sitting
If you were to ask twenty to people on the street how often they sit, chances are 19 out of twenty of them would say the majority of the day. It is common that many people regularly sit more hours of the day then they move. Not to mention the fact that when it becomes very regular, your body gets really good at doing it. In fact, your connective tissue—the supportive tissue under your skin designed to support, protect, and stabilize you—helps you sit for long periods of time. It’s not, however, our bodies natural form, so sitting is detrimental to its function.
Connective tissue, a.k.a. fascia, not only helps you sit, but it stores energy, to allow your muscles to do their job while remaining connected and balanced. Unfortunately, science is beginning to recognize that if you sit for long periods of time, as many of us do, fascia loses its supportive, elastic qualities, and muscles can become neurologically inhibited. This means they won’t contract or release when they need to. Neck and lower-back pain, muscle and ligament strains, and injury can result from this. It can even accelerate the aging process. Yikes.
It is widely unknown that sitting can cause so much turmoil in your body because, hey, sitting is comfortable. When we sit for long periods of time, or in general, we’re sitting on the backs of our thighs and on our butts. However, what most people don’t understand is that 80 percent of your gluteal muscles attach to an important fascial structure called your iliotibial band (IT band) and the other lower fibers attach to the lateral femur (your big leg bone). When we sit, the upper fibers become compressed and shortened while the lower fibers are lengthened. When these fibers are strained like this for long periods of time on a regular basis, it can lead to anything from hip and lower-back pain to cellulite and sciatica and even poor posture. Movement is extremely important, however, those who sit often must move with caution. Simply strengthening your glutes—by doing things like squats, running, and plyometric jumping—only increases your risk of injury due to the fact that your connective tissue that is jeopardized through sitting has become dehydrated.
In order to rehydrate your fascia and release tensions in your back and hip joints, try these 2 moves daily.
Let’s start with a bit similar of a tension release through the use of foam roller
SI Joint Shear:
Place a roller (I use MELT Performance Roller) under your pelvis, knees fully bent. Angle your knees slightly toward your head so that your thighs aren’t fully perpendicular to the roller. Maintain a consistent pressure and slowly angle your knees slightly right and left between the one and eleven o’clock positions to explore both sides of the SI joint.
Pause on the right side and shear by making small circles with your legs two to three times in each direction. Then march your knees slowly forward and back two to three times to stimulate the tissue at the SI joint. Maintain the pressure, pause, and take two breaths. Tip your knees to the opposite side and repeat the moves on the left SI joint.
The next move adds a bit more movement to deeply work out the kinks in your hip joints.
Place a roller beneath your pelvis. Place your right ankle on top of your left thigh, flexing your right ankle in order to support the knee (very important). Breathe in. On the exhale, activate your core as you lift your legs up to the level of the roller. Left thigh should be as close to perpendicular as possible.
Place your right hand on your right inner thigh just below the knee and picture lifting the thigh up and out of the socket gently to encourage length at the front of the hip joint (be gentle with this one). For added support, you can place your left hand behind your left thigh or grab your right foot, but make sure that you don’t laterally rotate the pelvis as you hold either position.
Simultaneously push the right thigh up and away from you with your right hand while your left thigh presses into your right outer shin. Once this “push-pull” position is achieved, take a focused breath and actively tilt the pelvis on the top of the roller but don’t let your ribs rise. Maintain the tilt and take two or three focused breaths as you sense the length between your right hip and your right knee on every exhale. Reduce the two-directional intention on the inhale, accentuate on the exhale.
Fight the pain of sitting for long hours! Try these moves every day and feel great.