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The Body Shop: Get Off Your Butt

The Body Shop: Get Off Your Butt

How to reverse the damage of sitting too much. Image by Mitch Mandel From the October 2011 issue of Runner's World

Your desk job is bad for your run, says Frank Musumeci, P.T., of the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami. Even when you get up your muscles remain in their shortened position, which forces them to work harder to elongate when called back to action. The antidote is to find ways to move every hour. And try this routine that engages muscles ignored when we sit.
NOTE For each, do three sets of 30 reps (both sides) three times a week.

ANKLE PUMPS
Stretches and strengthens the shin. Can also be done deskside without the band for periodic relief.
TO DO: Loop a band around the mid-foot. Start with the band taut when the foot is pointed. Slowly flex and point your foot.

PRONE LEG LIFTS
Sitting forces the body to collapse into gravity. This move helps strengthen the leg and core muscles that help keep the body upright.
TO DO: Bend over a table and prop yourself up on your forearms. Point one foot and lift that leg about 45 degrees, squeezing glutes as you go. Slowly lower leg to start.

BALL SQUEEZES
Prolonged sitting can exacerbate "runner's knee." This move helps keep the kneecap tracking well. It also strengthens hips and quads.
TO DO: While sitting, place a six-inch kickball between your knees. Squeeze the ball and slowly straighten one knee. Hold for a moment before lowering.

HIP ROTATIONS
Strengthens hips and legs.
TO DO: Loop a band around your mid-foot. (It's okay to sit.) Slowly rotate the foot 45 degrees out and 45 degrees in.

CORE TWIST
This move supports the spine.
TO DO: Stand with feet apart, arms in front. Keeping hips still, quickly rotate your upper body right to left.

Before you run: Awaken stiff muscles with the Dynamic Warmup routine at runnersworld.com/dynamic.