If you’re like most people, you probably spend a large chunk of your day sitting down—sitting at your desk or in your cubicle, sitting at the dinner table, sitting on the couch at the end of a long day. We’ve heard a lot about the negative health effects of too much sitting lately, and how we should all get up and move more. But sitting too much also has another negative effect, one we don’t talk about so much.
Spending too much time sitting down saps your energy. Sitting for too long makes you tired—and not in that good, just-came-from-the-gym way.
The good news is, there’s a simple solution that can boost your energy levels in just a few minutes per day. It can even help relieve the low back pain that comes along with sitting for long hours.
It’s called yoga. And no matter what your fitness level, you too can reap the benefits.
Yes you CAN do yoga
If you think you have to be flexible to do yoga, relax. You don’t. Doing yoga is how you become flexible. So if you can’t even touch your toes, that’s ok. Because the wonderful thing about yoga is this: you only do what you’re able to do. Yoga is the most forgiving exercise there is, and it doesn’t ask more of you than you’re capable of. If you’re supposed to touch your toes but you can only reach your knees, that’s fine.
That said, here’s a quick 10-minute yoga sequence that will relax your body, get your blood flowing, and boost your energy levels for hours afterward. If you’re not flexible, don’t worry. These are simple poses that nearly anyone can do—and if you can’t, then just do the best you can. It’s all good.
Start out standing, with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms hanging loosely at your sides. This is Mountain Pose. Breathe deeply from your belly. Breathe in to a count of 4 and out to a count of 4. Do this 5 times.
Now fold forward into Forward Bend Pose. This stretches your glutes and your hamstrings, and lets your neck and upper shoulders relax. Continue to breathe deeply and hold the pose for 5 breaths. Move into Downward-Facing Dog Pose. This stretches your calves and opens your ribcage up. Hold for 5 breaths.
Lower yourself to hands and knees and move through Cat Pose and Cow Pose, slowly, several times. These stretch your back and abdominal muscles. Now rock back and rest your bum on your heels so that you are in Hare Pose. This allows your back muscles to relax and, depending on your fitness level, may be a gentle stretch for other muscle. Rest in Hare Pose for 10 breaths, then repeat the whole sequence in reverse.
This entire routine takes no more than 10 minutes, but you’ll feel more energized for several hours. You can even try doing it on your lunch break for a midday boost. And if you’d like a better night’s rest, try doing this routine after dinner.