Guest post: Ethan Bell is a Certified Personal Trainer with 5 years of experience working with clients of all fitness levels. He is personally battling an autoimmune disease that has the potential to severely limit his mobility in the future and has made encouraging people to move his main purpose in life. FRC Mobility Specialist, CPT, UBC Human Kinetics Class of 2020 candidate.
The Winter season is in full swing! Cold weather, PSL’s, final exams, and travelling will have many of us more sedentary & indulgent than usual; a recipe for lethargy, stiffness, and stress. Not to mention Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you're working in an office, this is particularly prevalent.
Now for the good news! There is plenty of evidence that exercise is great in fighting against stress, anxiety, and depression (Lox, Martin Ginis, Petruzzello, 2010).
Here are a few simple ways to fit in mobility and keep active during the rush this holiday season!
1. Lacrosse Ball Massage
Sandwiching a lacrosse ball between you and your chair will help relieve the stiffness created by sitting for extended periods – and coming in at around $6, is one of the most affordable, and easy to pack pieces of equipment in your arsenal.
Sore back or shoulders? Slowly work the ball up the muscles along your spine, before moving between and “underneath” the shoulder blades.
Sore feet? Try placing the ball at the arch of your foot and standing on it to relieve tension through your foot and up your torso.
Sore legs? While a foam roller can be the easiest tool to target this group, you can still massage your quads, glutes and calves!
2. Watch your Posture
You may have heard the expression: sitting is the new smoking.
I would start off by saying that while this is a touch extreme, sitting in chairs for prolonged periods of time will wreak havoc on your joints, posture, and connective tissue if left unchecked.
Aggressively leaning back in the backrest, slouching, or hunching forward onto our desk can cause all kinds of problems:
- Excessive lumbar extension and
- Excessive thoracic flexion. as well as
- Overworked traps and neck muscles – which if prolonged may cause tension headaches along with a host of other aches and pains.
Be sure to sit up in your chair, feet firmly planted, and make good use of your core muscles and upper back.
3. Deep Squat
Before the use of chairs dominated our lives, the deep squat was a resting position and easily performed by the majority of humans. Most functional movement advocates have been trying to bring these back in a big way, and for good reason. If seated for a while, try and sit in a deep squat periodically throughout the day, or on breaks. Keep your weight on your heels while driving your elbows into your knees to help keep your chest up and hips open.
Use these tips and tricks to incorporate mobility and movement into your busy schedule! Staying on top of your mobility hygiene, along with nutrient-rich nutrition, is a recipe for a healthy and pain-free life.
Ethan Bell runs Formal Function, an online personal fitness coaching business. With the use of a smartphone and the Trainerize app, he sends you personalized training plans with instructional videos, nutritional guidelines, movement assessments, and progress reports. Log and track every rep, set, and cardio session along with having a direct line of communication to your trainer.
Lox, C. L., Martin Ginis, K. A., Petruzzello, S. J. (2010). The Psychology of Exercise: Integrating Theory and Practice Third Edition. Scottsdale, AZ: Holcomb Hathaway, Publishers, Inc.