Our backs and hips are being slowly, quietly damaged every day by sedentary lifestyles. If we work in an office environment, or sitting down at home, chances are we also spend much of our evenings in a sedentary position, watching TV or streaming services, or playing video games. Research (opens in new tab) shows that "sedentary employees are exposed to increasing occupational hazards such as back pain and mental health issues".
The best office chair can help us limit the damage to our spines by offering excellent lumbar support, but exercise is an excellent way to both become less sedentary, release tension in our backs and improve our mental health. Pilates, as a way to stretch out our hamstrings and hips and improve core strength in the "trunk" of our bodies – our lower backs and abdominals – is the perfect anti-sitting solution.
Emily Hale, instructor at Build and Breathe (opens in new tab) pilates studio, took to our instagram to offer a complete follow-along workout. All you need is one of the best yoga mats and a little floor space to get started.
Watch the full pilates workout below:
This is an excellent workout to undo the damage of sitting, as Emily guides us through hip, back and core work. Lots of gentle stretches held for long periods release lots of tension in the body and loosen up the lower back and hips.
Our range of motion decreases when we sit for long periods, as our muscles tighten up and become shorter through lack of use, especially as we age. When we sit, our hips are in a fixed position for a longer period of time.
Stretching, on the other hand, actively works to lengthen those muscles, as does resistance training. One study published by researchers from Portugal (opens in new tab) found "strength training and stretching were not different in their effects on range of motion" with both being of benefit. Pilates requires both resistance and stretching working in tandem.
Follow us on Instagram at @wearefitandwell (opens in new tab)
Want to follow the next IG workout live? Follow us on Instagram to get all the details on live workouts, Q&As with experts, and a selection of some of our best features, wellness advice, workouts and the latest deals on the hottest fitness kit. Don't miss out!
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
Build core strength with this six-move resistance band ab workout
Workout Use this short resistance band ab workout to develop your core, improve your posture, and promote stability
By Maddy Biddulph • Published
I tried Chris Hemsworth's trainer's four-move core workout, and it proves you don't need sit-ups to build abs
Workout This accessible session is a great way to strengthen your core at home or on holiday using just a resistance band
By Harry Bullmore • Published