Do you spend hours in front of your computer each day? Do you end up eating 'al desco' in the office more often that not? Do you spend a lot of time at home in front of the computer or TV? Then read on!
Whoever invented the chair really didn't do us any favours. Sitting for long periods is bad for our health! It's thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat, it can cause muscles and bones to weaken and can also raise the risk of dementia. Bad posture while sitting can also lead to back, shoulder and neck pain and headaches.
At home and in the office, you can reduce the impact of long periods of sitting by taking breaks from your chair every 20 minutes or so, ensuring you take a walk outside when getting your lunch, climbing the stairs at work instead of taking the lift, and otherwise standing whenever possible. If you commute by train then most of the operators are really good at helping you stand on your journey, whether you like it or not!!!
Whilst doing all of the above is important you also need to ensure your posture while sitting is good too. Most of us who work in an office nowadays have access to some kind of desk assessment to ensure our work stations are set up correctly, but this isn’t always the case and even less so for those who work regularly from home. It’s essential to ensure correct desk posture wherever possible to protect against RSI, neck ache, headaches and so on.
This picture shows the optimum positioning for your desk, review against your workstation set up and see how well you’re doing!
If you feel like you're already at a point where you're getting aches and pains from sitting too long, here's some great stretches to try. And remember, if all else fails book a massage!
The Anti-Shrug - Great for Tense Shoulders
Stand upright with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart.
With your hands behind you, take an overhand grip on your right wrist with your left hand. If that is too difficult, grip a towels with both hands placed as close together as you comfortably can.
Bend your head forward and to the left so that your chin is close to your left collarbone.
Gently pull your right arm downward with your left hand.
Simultaneously push your right shoulder blade downward, as if doing the opposite of a shrug.
Hold for ten seconds then relax and repeat three times, then repeat the sequence on the other side.
Chin Retractions - Great for Forward Head Posture
Sit comfortably in an upright position.
While maintaining your gaze directly ahead, move your head steadily and slowly straight back until it is pulled back as far as you can go
Tuck your chin to your throat, creating a double chin
You should feel a light stretch in the area just underneath your skull, at the top of your neck.
To enhance the stretch, place your index finger in the centre of your chin and gently push your chin farther toward your throat.
Hold your stretch for 10 seconds before returning to your starting position.
Do a minimum of 8-10 repetitions every hour while you are sitting.
Thoracic Extension - Great for a Rounded Upper Back & Shoulders
Whilst sitting place your hands behind your head, lifting the elbows high and wide, but being careful not to squeeze your shoulder blades.
This may already be enough of a stretch if your back is very tight, but if you can take it further, use the support of the chair to lean on and extend the upper back backwards.
Hold for 10 seconds, relax, then repeat.
I hope these help! Any questions please feel free to drop me a line.