5 Effective Exercises to Offset Sitting at Desks All Day Long
If you’re living the 9 to 5 office life, slumped in a chair or hunched over the computer, then you’re surely familiar with the stiffness and pain at the end of the day. That’s because our bodies have not been created to stay stationary for very long time.
8 hours a day, or 12 if you’re a workaholic, can result in poor posture, muscle tightness and lower back pain. While stretching from time to time can have its benefits, these 5 exercises can efficiently offset the damage sitting at the desk all day has done to your body. Give them a go and say goodbye to office induced aches and pains!
Why do it? Squats represent a key movement in building a strong, resilient body. By strengthening your body’s muscles, such as glutes or hamstrings, you give your lower back some relief and reduce your back pain, if any.
Squats are also good for posture, facilitating a straight position of your back and lowering tension when sitting at the desk.
How to do it: From a standing position, spread your feet a little wider than your hips. Raise your arms in front of you. Keep your spine straight, moving your hips back and down slowly and bending your knees. Hold the squat for a second then return to standing position. You can use dumbbells or medicinal ball for variety.
Why do it? The back is subjected to a lot of pressure when other parts of your body, such as the abs, are weak. Planks work your abs, inner core and glutes, among other things, and strengthen your entire core to better support your back.
How to do it: Rise on your forearms and knees on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor, squeezing your abs and glutes. Keep your back flat, do not arch it. Maintain a straight line from your head to your feet. Try to hold it as much as you can. You should feel tension in your abs, not lower back.
Why do it? When you’re sitting all day hunched over your computer, your front muscles such as chest and hips, get very tight and stiff. That’s why it is important to give them back their flexibility and mobility
Bridges are a great method to engage all the right muscle groups and take some pressure off your back, caused by the wrong posture while seated.
How to do it: Lie on your back, with your feet and hands flat on the floor. Press up into a bridge while you keep your neck and jawline relaxed. Exhale when you are in position. Hold for 15-20 seconds.
Why do it? Nagging backaches are not only caused by stiff hamstrings and hips but also by the tight muscles in front of your body. Chest tightness can lead to slumped posture which in turn causes stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulders and back. Chest stretches help getting the flexibility and mobility back.
How to do it: Place your forearm on a doorway or frame, at a 45-degree angle from your legs. Lean your body forward, into the stretch. You should feel the movement in front of your right shoulder. Hold for 20-30 seconds then switch sides and repeat.
Why do it? The forward bend is a simple stretch exercise and probably the most basic ones in yoga classes throughout the world. It is very efficient in relieving lower back pain generated by tight hips and shoulders pain, strengthening and stretching the back muscles.
How to do it: Stand hip-width apart, tightening your glutes and digging your heels in. Relax your upper body and slowly bend forward, with your arms hanging down in front of you. Lean as far as you can, while your neck is relaxed, and your chin tucked in. Hold for 15-20 seconds and slowly return to standing position.