Maintaining a balance of flexibility and strength in your lower body can be important for many reasons. Balanced support of your lower back can help prevent and relieve common back pain. Strong gluteal muscles, your butt muscles, will help to protect your knees from injury and help your posture. And proper flexibility through your hamstrings, the back of your thighs, will help with your seated posture. Put the following three suggestions into action to help prevent common workplace injury and to
avoid common discomforts.
The lunge is a classic strength training exercise that allows for what is called a unilateral movement. Unilateral means that only “one side” is performing it. In a lunge, you would take a big step forward with one leg, while lowering your back knee toward the ground, and keeping your torso extended upright. The front leg is doing a great deal of work, using the glutes to lower, lift, and keep you balanced. The front hamstring and back quadricep are also working hard to help lift you back up and project you forward. Unilateral exercises can be great for adjusting imbalances in strength and flexibility between two sides of the body. Proper balance in the hips will help to maintain proper support of the spine. If balance is a challenge, practice near a wall, or place a hand on a sturdy chair for assistance. Incorporating lunges with the MostFit™ Suspension Strap is also great to increase or decrease stability.
Hip extensions are a great exercise for for your glutes. Laying on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be a little wider than your hips, and a little bit in front of your knees. Engage your core to protect your spine then lift your pelvis toward the ceiling or sky. Be sure to press your feet down and pull them back toward you as opposed to pushing away from you. Extending the hips is a function of the glutes. As long as this exercise doesn't hurt your back you can do 2 to 3 sets of this a few times a day to help prevent common workplace injuries. To make these more challenging, and to really focus on abduction for optimal glute activation, place a MostFit™ Resistance Loop above your knees.
One of the easiest, most accessible things you can do anywhere, is a forward fold. It’s a great idea to get up at least once an hour and move around, if you are sitting for a long time. Start standing up tall, soften your knees, roll your shoulders back and take a big inhale. Reach up to the ceiling or sky, as high as you can, as you inhale. As you exhale, hinge at your hips and start to fold forward. Continue reaching through the ends of your fingers even as you are folding forward. Keep your back flat as long as you can, then finally let your spine curl and your head sink toward your toes. You can bend your knees as much as you need to in order to make this stretch comfortable for your back and hamstrings. Don't worry about where your hands land--thighs, shins, hands to opposite elbows , or the floor--are all fine. Rise up gently on an inhale. repeat with 4 or 5 more cycles of breath.
You can also practice a seated forward fold from a chair. Be careful if your chair has wheels on it. Make sure your feet are planted firmly, separate them wider than your hips, then slowly glide your hands down your legs as you start to fold. Allow the crown of your head to release. Try swaying your head slowly from side to side. Breathe.
Try to implement these simple exercises into your week and you may notice that your body feels much better.
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