Let’s assume that the average adult spends 5 hours every day sitting down in front of their office desk, plus an additional hour during their commute and another hour watching television after work.

This adds up to approximately 7 hours a day and 51 hours a week in a sedentary position sitting down in a chair.

Over their lifetime, this could add up to a whooping 18 years spent sitting down.

This is a big problem.

Several studies have noted that sitting down too much may lead to an increased likelihood of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. [1]

“Sitting is the new smoking,” is a popular slogan that highlights the profound negative effects sitting can have on your health, happiness and productivity.

If you spend most of your day sitting down in front of a computer, there are effective ‘thoracic mobility exercises’ to undo this damage.

But, first, let’s briefly review what happens to your body when you sit down too much and why this can be bad for your health.

Why is sitting bad for you?

After sitting down for several hours a day, your posture permanently changes to compensate for this new habit.

Over time, your neck, shoulder and head position will move forward away from the proper centre. Your hip muscles tighten up and your mid and upper back—called the thoracic spine—will develop an abnormal forward curvature.

Here’s what this looks like…

thoracic mobility posture

This bad posture causes all kinds of problems including back pain, loss of mobility and breathing inefficiencies. [2]

Most likely, you’ll develop bad form with any exercise because your posture is out of alignment. I can testify to this because i’ve torn a back muscle whilst exercising due to poor posture from sitting down too much.

If you’re an athlete, the tight hip muscles, weak glutes and abdominal muscles will reduce your performance in any activity due to reduced explosive power and range of movement.

If you want to lose weight, these issues increase the likelihood of injury which prevents you from exercising consistently. Plus, sitting down too much every day has been scientifically linked with weight gain. [3]

If you want to improve your performance at work, posture problems caused by sitting down for long hours could lead to back and neck pain issues that reduce your productivity and force you to take time off work. Plus, you waste a lot of money visiting doctors to fix this problem.

How can we undo the damage of sitting? Here’s a quick 5 minute exercise to reverse the negative effects.

Thoracic Mobility Exercises

Over the years, I’ve struggled with posture problems and severe back pain issues that have affected my productivity, health and quality of life.

Luckily, I stumbled across various thoracic mobility exercises which helped to relieve my back pain and fix my posture problems.

By far the most effective exercises included a foam roller for back pain.

If you’re not sure what a foam roller is, it’s a foam filled cylinder that acts as a ‘self massage’ device.

These are available in most gyms, but I’d recommend you purchase your own foam roller to keep at home.

When I suffered from back pain, I used my foam roller 5 minutes in the evening before bed and 5 minutes before every workout.

After 3 weeks, my back pain reduced significantly and my thoracic mobility improved a lot.

Here’s why foam roller exercises for thoracic mobility can be so powerful:

  • Cost effective. The return on investment from a foam roller greatly outweighs the amount of money that you would have spent on the physio, chiropractors, personal trainers and doctors for posture related issues.
  • Time saving. For a short time of 5 minutes a day, spent on the foam roller and thoracic mobility exercises, you save more time that could have been wasted due to injuries and illness.
  • Convenience. In the comfort of your home, you can do these exercises without the need of any additional equipment and even while watching your favourite tv show.

There’s a wide variety of foam roller exercises for thoracic mobility that you can find online. However, here’s one thoracic mobility exercise that has helped me to improve my health.

Thoracic Mobility Foam Roller Tutorial

Here’s a quick 5 minute demonstration and tutorial from health expert, Paul Chek, to improve your thoracic mobility, health and performance.

All you need is a foam roller to perform this exercise routine. Then, simply dedicate 5 minutes a day for 4 weeks and you’ll see how much your health improves through better thoracic mobility.


Footnotes

1. Studies suggest that sedentary time is associated with an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. [Review Here and here]

2. C.H.E.K Institute article highlights the effects posture on breathing and exercise. 

3. In one study, researchers discovered that obese people spent an average of 2 hours sitting longer than lean people.

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