Spend most of your day sitting at a desk? If you work in an office environment, it’s likely you spend most of your waking day hunched in front of a screen. And, while it may seem harmless, it’s wreaking havoc with your body over the long term.
Working as a physiotherapist, an increasing amount of our clients are reporting with aches and pains directly caused by sitting at a desk for their job. The good news is, the damage can be undone if you’re willing to follow some simple stretches. These static poses are designed to correct issues like tight hips, pressure in the lower back, and even rounding of the shoulders from excessive typing. Here are five of our favourite stretches for countering the damage done by office life.
Designed to be settled into with a relaxed mindset, the dragon/low lunge is a simple hip opener that can be modified depending on your comfort level. Many of us suffer from pelvic tilt as a result of sitting for long periods. This stretch, over time, can help to open the hips and correct this issue. For those looking for a deeper stretch, add in a back bend to stretch further into the hips.
Another unfortunate result of all our sitting is a plague of tight hamstrings. Want to see how inflexible most people are? Bend down (with straight legs) and try to touch your toes. Most people can’t even come close! Incorporating a seated forward fold into your stretching regimen will help to loosen tight hamstrings. Try to settle into the stretch and hold it for at least a minute, if not longer. For those struggling to reach their toes consider incorporating a yoga strap. This traction will help you to progress in the stretch and achieve progress week-by-week.
Working at a computer is the number one cause of upper back and neck pain. This is due to us spending our days with arms outstretched, typing and using a mouse. Over time, our shoulders round forward, leaving our upper back and neck to deal with increased stress. One way to counter this is to try to keep our chests as open as possible using stretches like the standing chest stretch. Start by using a wall (or pole) and lean into the stretch for a minute on each side. This stretch is best utilized alongside strengthening the upper back with resistance training exercises.
Do you suffer from tightness in your lower back? The compression effect on our spines from excessive sitting causes many people to feel stiff and tight in their lower back, restricting movement and causing discomfort. An effective way to counter this feeling is to incorporate a supine twist into your stretching routine. Start by laying flat on the floor, bend one knee and cross it over your other leg. Try to keep both shoulders squared to the floor. Hold each side for at least one minute.
When it comes to neck stretches one simply isn’t enough. Keeping your neck loose and limber will prevent many unpleasant things like headaches and upper back pain. Don’t put any traction on your neck, instead, gently tilt from side to side, up and down, and twist from side to side. If you run into tightness while stretching, stick around and gently play into that tightness. If it becomes painful, back off.
Find Out More
At VanCity Physio, we are experts in solving the aches and pains caused by modern living. To find out more, or book an appointment, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.