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by Johdi Woodford, Little Bird Pilates

The use of the word ‘butt’ bothers me a bit here, as I’m used to using British English, (you know, the one the Queen speaks!?), and so I would usually say ‘bum’, but that sometimes makes people think of a beggar-type person, and I’m trying to stick to anatomical parts here, and then derrière sounds so pretentious, but whatever the semantics, know that this post is for all of us, because it’s all about people who sit, what that does to them, and how they can avoid the major pitfalls of sitting. Oh no! That’s right, I’ve already written about that here.

Ok, now I’ve jogged my own poor memory, this time, I’m going to outline 3 ‘moves’ that we can do to lessen the impact on the parts of our body that tend to bother us? Think neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips, and think, simple, fuss-free strategies for breaking the sedentary cycle. With anything, any activity, in life, as humans, and as bipeds, if we engage our lower abdominals, think the lower half below the belly button and then lift our lower back bones, we work all the rest of our bodies. It’s all to do with a mights structure called the Thoracolumbar Complex, but don’t worry that now, just read on! If you spend long periods sitting, these 3 moves will help in many different ways that should become evident as you do them regularly. They’re easy and they work, trust me!

1.    Active Sitting - Sit on the edge of your seat.

Yup, that simple, bring your bum, butt, or derrière to the front of your seat, not so that it’s falling off, nor so that you’re uncomfortably perched on it, but so that you are sitting forwards and away from the back of your seat.

You should find that your lower back gets a little, concave curve in it, which is what you’re looking for.

Make sure that you sit tall, and connect with your lower abdominals, don’t suck in your tummy, but engage your lower tummy and lengthen your lower back. So move your head away from your hips, and bring your feet directly under your knees, so your shins drop straight to the floor.

This makes sitting more active for your body as you have to work harder to maintain this sitting position, so you may only be able to sustain it for a few minutes at first, but keep going with it until you can build up to being able to sit like this anywhere, not just at your desk, for good, long periods.

2.    Sit on the floor - once again it’s as simple as that.

Watch television, pay your bills, play with your kids whilst sitting on the floor.

The good thing about the floor is that it’s not comfortable, so you have to keep moving around and changing position, which, again, is what you want, because it’s breaking the sedentary cycle again.

3.    The Roll Down is a great all over body-limbering, stretching exercise.

Stand tall, feet hip-width apart., make sure your knee cap is in line with the joint of your 2nd toe, like that, you’re aligned nicely and ready to go.

Breathe in through your nose to prepare, and, as you breathe out, drop your chin to your chest and let the rest of your body follow as you roll down forward and towards your feet, like a rope unravelling bit by bit.

Keep your knees soft or even bent, (don’t lock your knees), and keep the weight of your body evenly-distributed under your feet and let your head hang down too, so don’t look at the floor, look at your body as you track down.

Let the breath dictate your pace, so you should get to the bottom of the movement, somewhere where your hands hang between your knees and the floor, when your exhale is finished and your lungs are empty.

Then you breathe in again and this time, let that in-breath, inflate your lungs and bring your back up to standing. Keep going 5-6 times.

And there you have it. 3 ways to bring more movement into a daily habit. Enjoy!

Author's Bio

johdi biophotoJohdi Woodford

Johdi was born in Zimbabwe in 1979 and discovered Pilates in 1999 when a leg injury ended her marathon running career and an osteopath suggested she try Pilates. She began to practice Pilates regularly in every country she lived in and, having arrived in Switzerland in 2004, and having worked in the Marketing & Communication sectors, she decided to make her passion her career and trained to become a Pilates Instructor after the birth of her first child. She has been certified with the Pilates Institute in Geneva and London and teaching since 2010. Her training includes workshops on Pilates for pre and post pregnancy, Pilates for seniors, as well as special sessions led by physiotherapists on the rehabilitation of the back, shoulder and hip girdle.

Johdi opened Little Bird Pilates in 2014 with the aim of sharing her passion for intelligent exercise to a wider audience. Her main aim is to help people, of any age and any sporting background, to find freedom of movement, and gain strength and suppleness without pain and discomfort, which then improves their daily lives. Johdi regularly attends workshops and seminars in order to continue to deepen and broaden her knowledge and technique.