15 Exercises to Counteract Sitting

Happy Veteran’s Day!  So thankful to all those who serve this country and a special shout-out to my late-grandfather who fought in WWII, what a special man 🙂

Like promised here is the information I taught in class last week.  15 Exercises to Counteract the Effects of Sitting. It’s long with no pictures so I apologize in advance for that. I did have pictures on the handout but thought I’d save some space here and take them out.  If an exercise doesn’t make sense either ask me or frankly Google it.  While I would LOVE to hear from you (so plz still ask away) it’s amazing what information you can find on Google these days, kinda scary actually. So without further ado…..


Side Effects of sitting:

  • Obesity – This shouldn’t come as any surprise that sitting all day instead of moving burns less calories and leads to weight gain. Studies have shown that prolonged periods of sitting can, over time, slow your metabolism.
  • Herniated Disk – Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your hips and spine and can lead to injuries over an extended period of time. Prolonged pressure on your spine can lead to a disc to slide out of place and eventually burst, which is extremely painful and requires medication, physical therapy, and in extreme cases surgery.
  • Poor posture – More than likely you don’t have perfect posture all the time when sitting. This leads to weakened muscles and tight joints which can lead to further injury.  It can also leave you feeling tired and cause low back and neck pain.
  • Knee Pain – Sitting with knees at 90 degrees puts increased pressure on the knee cap.  This in turn can lead to pain and swelling and can cause further pain in during other activities. Also having underdeveloped leg muscles makes the knees work harder for stability causing pain.
  • Muscle Weakness – It makes sense that moving less uses less muscle which leads to muscle atrophy.  The Gluteal muscles (or buttocks) are one of the largest muscle groups in the body and but severely underworked when sitting.  These muscles are used in really any body movement and are essential to avoiding back and hip pain.
  • Slowed Metabolism – When sitting, your body starts to “shut-down” on a metabolic level in order to save energy and be more efficient.  In the bodies attempt to conserve energy that we don’t need, it actually starts packing on the pounds.
  • Neck Problems – While working at a computer, many people either extend their necks slightly, or keep it bent at an angle depending on if they’re working on a computer of paper.  Over long periods of time this can harm the muscles and joints and lead to pain when not at work.
  • Back Aches and Pains – One of the hardest hit places in the body from sitting for long periods of time is the back.  From the increased pressure and lack of movement, the back can become very sore after a few hours and over time develop into more serious issues
  • -Deep Vein Thrombosis- Most usually hear about the dangers of blood clots in your legs when flying, but just as important when sitting anywhere – either at home or work.
  • -Increased Risk Heart Disease- Scary thought. Studies have shown that those who work-out for an hour a day and still sit all day are at the same risk of heart disease as those who sit all day and don’t work-out.
  • -Risk of Diabetes- Same as increasing risk of heart disease; sitting for long periods of time can also increase your risk of developing Diabetes up to 7%.  Sitting causes your blood flow to slow down which can result in increased blood sugar and insulin resistance.
  • -Raised Cholesterol- Sitting causes enzyme activity to decrease as much as 90%. Enzymes are what grab fat out of your cells in order to use it for energy. When left in the body, this circulating fat causes healthy cholesterol levels to drop by 20% after just a few hours of sitting.
  • -Increased Risk of Depression- As we’ve discussed, sitting reduces blood flow which can lead to depression and less blood flow means less feel-good hormones running through your system.
  • -Shorter Life Span- New studies are starting to show that those who sit for 6 hours a day are at increased risk of early death of all health related causes.  For those who exercise as well, the risk is 35% higher for women and 18% for men.  Unfortunately those who don’t exercise have an increased risk of 94% and 48% respectively.  Yikes!

Example Exercises:

  1. Standing side stretch
  2. Standing shoulder blade squeeze
  3. Standing hamstring/calf stretch
  4. Standing quadriceps (front of leg) stretch
  5. One leg stand with hip hike
  6. Standing hip flexor stretch (lunge)
  7. Bird-dog and cat-camel
  8. Knee to chest stretch
  9. Basic spinal twist
  10. Piriformis stretch
  11. Bridge (single-leg)
  12. Straight leg lifts (double legs/alternating kicks)
  13. Side leg lifts with bands
  14. Plank
  15. Side plank

Whew, that was really long but super important information that quite a few people need to know.  I hope this helps someone out there. Again if you have any questions please ask, and if you suffer from any of the more serious side-effects please, please, please consult your Dr. before attempting any of these exercises. While I am a Certified Personal Trainer, each individual case is different and this isn’t to serve as a blanket statement for everyone, simply helpful guidelines.

Have a wonderful week of (hopefully) not much sitting 😀


Let’s Connect!


Cross-Training on a Friday

It’s finally the weekend (in a few hrs) but since the semester starts next week I’ll be a busy little bee for all of it.  Next week is Grad student orientation, plus a job interview, plus the start of GOTR practices (have I even told y’all about that?), plus the beginning of classes, plus my best friend flying into town to see me, PLUS the end of August!

Phew, I need a mental break just thinking about it all…..

This has been the threatening weather all week

Random picture of the strange weather this week

So this weekend besides getting ready for all of that, I also have CPR/First Aid re-certification (there goes my Saturday).  I’m so glad those things last 2 years, sigh.  Then it’s into the mail for my CPT forms to turn in my CEU’s!

I won’t have time to get in my long run of the week (5 miles) in my Half Marathon training this weekend so I did a little cross-training at the gym tonight.  (It really is convenient working at a gym sometimes).  Seriously technology just amazes me, there’s machines that now simulate running, besides a treadmill of course,  while taking away impact to your joints.


Odd angle but can you see it?

I felt like I was flying!!  My mile splits were 5:50!!  yea that’s Waaaaaay too fast for me by a few minutes so obviously it’s not a completely accurate transition so I ran an extra mile just for good measure.

This was only the screen during my warm-up

This is the screen during my warm-up

That brings my total mileage for August up to 64!  Whoo!!  Only 6 away from my goal and a week to do it in!

Also you still have a little bit of time to enter my birthday giveaway!  Hurry it’s ending soon!

How do you make-up a run you had planned?  Be sure to check out the RunningBloggers Fitness Friday link-up!


“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.”

-Edmund Burke

Running is Freedom

They say you don’t realize what you have before you lose it.  Well in many things that’s true and running in no different.  As a 23 yr old with a pre-arthitic knee(yes you read that right, arthritis at 23) the few times I can run pain free are the most freeing times of my life!  I do, however, need to keep my complaining in check.


I had the privilege of meeting a very sweet man while out on the trails yesterday.  His name is Joe and he has a prosthetic left leg.  Let me let that sink in real quick before I continue…….ya on board?  Ok, yes I met Joe out on the trails where he was giving it his all a few steps at a time.  It was a loop trail so I passed him several times before I finally stopped to talk to him.  Sometimes I’d pass him jogging, others sitting on a bench giving his leg a break, but each time he had a smile on his face, that’s bravery and dedication in the biggest way.

He had the sweetest Spirit and one of the best outlooks on life of anyone I’ve ever met.  He said God found it fit to take one leg from him but he still had work to do….I mean really!?!?!  He’s definitely my new role model in not only running but in LIFE!  It was such a blessing to have met him.

So let this be a warning to all you runner’s out there!  Love and take care of your body b/c it won’t always be able to perform the way it can now!  And even when it doesn’t/can’t do the things you want it to anymore, you gotta find a way to push through and do what you can.   If Joe’s story doesn’t inspire you, then find something or someone that does and get out there!

Courtesy of RunKeeper

Courtesy of RunKeeper

Speaking of getting out there, I ended up with 66.5 miles for the month of July!!! What what!!  Super stoked that I beat my 60mile goal…Should I make it 70 for August?  Me thinks it can be done!!  I’ve already logged 4 as of yesterday, I’m on my way!

Adventures of Manda and Mr Howie

I also have a HUGE announcement on this Fitness Friday!  I’m officially signed up for my 2nd Ragnar TN race!!  I’m so excited to be able to compete for the second year in a row with one of the Best group of ladies and friends!  SO excited!!  Ragnar, prepare to be defeated….AGAIN!

Have any fun, major races coming up? (or majorly fun ones?)  I wanna hear about them and how you mentally prepare!


“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

-Babe Ruth

Hot Run, Hot Bod

I’ve got 2 things of wonderful news today!

First, I know I’ve told y’all that I’ve started my new job on campus but I snapped a pic of my new digs at work today to share.  It’s a super nice facility (not top of the line, but big and stocked!) and I so far so good!  It is a bit slower compared to my last job working 1-1 with my clients, I’m more of a Supervisor here.  I do get to do first time consultations with people though which I now live for to break up the “supervising” lol.


Pretty nice eh?

Second…..get ready for it…….Yesterday I ran pain-free for the first time in weeks!!!!  YAY!  Following Dr’s orders really does pay-off! haha (seems like common sense but hard to follow through on sometimes).  I only went 4 miles total, 2 running, 1 walking, then 1 more running so my mileage has suffered but that can be trained up again.  I mean idk about y’all but I’d rather run 2 pain-free miles then 6 painful ones and be incapacitated the rest of the day, so I’ll take it!


But oh my goodness, the thermometer has been stuck in the 90’s all week, flirting with the triple digits!  EVEN when the Sun goes down!!  For that reason my outings have been some pretty sweaty ones lol.  Now I’m not really all that sweaty of a person when working out, I usually only start sweating post-exercise (TMI, I know I’m sorry) but yesterday was a different story. I tried to take a picture to show that I literally had sweat rolling down my legs (sans lotion) but it didn’t really show up. (the close up was just weird so I stuck with a distant shot lol).


The sky keeps threatening to rain, we’re getting some pretty intense heat lightening in the darkening skies but so far no relief, the heat just keeps on….SO I just gotta keep my towels stocked and my sunscreen on hand because I gotta keep keeping on as well!  Besides a hot run means a hot bod right? 😀

How are you faring with the heat this summer?


“Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise just like muscles of the body.”

-Lynn Jennings

Jeepers! Only 4 Days!

4 days till my first half marathon ever and what am I doing? Sitting here listening to Yanni and eating Peanut Butter bread I made the other day.  What? Peanut butter is a good refueling food right?  (Want the recipe?  Click here if you dare 🙂


I’m probably still not “technically” supposed to be running.  My knee’s been giving me trouble ever since the weather warmed up and my outdoor runs started back up.(side note, if you didn’t already know, I’ve had 2 knee surgeries thus far in my 23 yrs)  If only my knee would have thawed out with the rest of New England this month 😦

On the smarter side, I’ve been doing my rehab exercises every day diligently and it seems to be helping.  Of course this is all maintenance till I can get in to see my Ortho Dr. but a girls gotta do what a girl’s gotta do yea?  Don’t worry I’ve been a good girl and doing most of my training runs on the elliptical as of late.  It may not be the fastest half marathon time ever, but by golly I’ll cross that finish line!!