In today’s fast-paced world, many of us spend a significant amount of time sitting on our daily commute to work, says Luis Ribeiro, consultant physiotherapist at Club Health. “This prolonged sitting can lead to various health issues, including poor posture, back pain, and reduced flexibility,” he says. However, there are simple seated core exercises you can do while riding in a train, bus, or car (as long as you aren’t driving) that can improve your physical well-being—same goes for while sitting at work.
Lindy Royer, PT, physical therapist at Balanced Body, adds that “most people assume the core has something to do with the abdominals and are pretty vague about it beyond that, but the core is your whole trunk three-dimensionally from pelvis to shoulders, and includes the dozens of muscles of the trunk, as well as the bones these muscles attach to, primarily the pelvis, spine, and ribs.”
By incorporating the three seated core exercises below into your daily routine can help to improve your health.
3 seated core exercises that can improve your posture, back pain, and flexibility
1. Seated spinal twist
The seated spinal twist is an effective exercise for improving spinal mobility and reducing lower back pain by releasing tension in the lower back and hips.
Here’s how to do it: Sit up straight in your seat with your feet flat on the floor. Place your right hand on the outside of your left knee and press into it to gently twist your torso to the left. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. Release and repeat on the other side
2. Seated leg raises
Seated leg raises are a great way to strengthen your core and improve circulation in your legs.
Here’s how to do it: Sit up straight in your seat with your feet flat on the floor. Lift your right leg up, out in front of you. Hold the position for a few seconds before lowering your leg back down. Repeat with your left leg. Aim for 10 to 15 repetitions on each leg.
3. Seated shoulder blade squeeze
The seated shoulder blade squeeze is an excellent exercise for improving posture and reducing tension in the neck and shoulders.
Here’s how to do it: Sit up straight in your seat with your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, imagining you are holding a pencil between them.
Hold the squeeze for five seconds before releasing. Repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.
Incorporating these exercises into your daily routine can help to prevent health issues caused by prolonged sitting and improve your overall physical fitness,” says Riberio. Ideally, aim to do them at least once per day, but the more frequently you can incorporate them into your commute or time at your desk, the better you’ll feel.