Those of us whose work keeps us sitting all day know that by the end of the day, just getting up and walking around can be painful. Though desk jobs and other work that involves sitting was once thought of as ‘cushy’, today we know that it actually carries significant health risks.
Though some of those risks orient around cardiovascular issues or obesity, sitting all day can also negatively impact our musculoskeletal system, leading to tight hips and back and neck pain.
Experts suggest a variety of solutions, including addressing postural and ergonomics issues and getting up at least once an hour and taking a walk. Another good idea is to take a break and do some simple exercises to keep yourself limber and loose.
Jobs involving sitting are increasingly common, and so is the back pain that arises as a result, but that doesn’t mean we want to call attention to ourselves as we address it.
To help, here are a few simple, subtle exercises that you can do at your desk without anybody being any the wiser. You can run through this five-move sequence in less than 5 minutes with nobody being the wiser. More importantly, you are likely to find that they quickly make a big difference: they will improve your flexibility and decrease tightness in your hips and back.
Warrior 1 Stretch for Hip Flexors
Stand next to your chair with your feet slightly wider than your hips, one foot forward and the other foot back. Bend the front knee while keeping the back leg straight with the back foot pointing slightly outward, holding on to a chair for balance if you need to. Hold stretch for twenty to thirty seconds, then switch sides.
Forward Fold Stretch for Hamstrings
You can either stand up and bend forward at the waist to touch your toes or do this one while sitting by putting the back of one foot at a time up on a box, desk or shelves and bending forward. The point is to loosen up the back of your legs and lower back. While bending pull your stomach in towards the back of your spine. You can expand the stretch by also reaching slightly to the right and then to the left. Hold each stretch for twenty to thirty seconds.
Revolving Triangle Stretch for IT Band
While sitting, extend one leg straight in front of you or slightly elevated on a chair or open file drawer. Keep the other leg bent with the foot flat on the ground. Flex the straightened leg’s foot, squeezing the quad and reach the opposite hand towards the shin, twisting towards the leg while the other hand reaches up to the sky. You will feel a stretch in the straightened leg’s outer thigh. Hold for twenty to thirty seconds, then switch sides.
You may have done this stretch on the ground, but you can also do it while sitting at your desk simply by crossing your right ankle over your left knee and flexing the foot, bending slightly at the waist and leaning into the right hip. Hold for twenty to thirty seconds and then switch sides.
Wide-Legged Seated Forward Bend
While seated in your chair, position your legs with knees wide apart and put one foot up on a shelf or open file drawer. Lean slightly into the lifted leg so that you feel a stretch in the inner thigh, holding for twenty to thirty seconds and then switching sides.
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