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7 Great Moves to Stay Active At Your Desk

Have you heard of the statement “sitting is the new smoking”? In my opinion, maybe a little dramatic, but definitely some truth to it. Not only prolonged sitting but just being generally sedentary for most of your day, 5 days a week can have a profound impact on your overall health, mobility, and according to some studies possibly even morbidity. (Yikes!) But really, sitting puts your spine and hips in a flexed position, tends to cause forward rounded shoulders, and what is called a forward head posture. While all of these things are not inherently bad for a short amount of time, leaving your body in this position over an extended amount of time and on a regular basis can take its toll.

Okay now that I have scared you into wanting to read more on how to address this issue, here we go. Whether you are at the office or still working from home, try these out. It is always advised to see a Doctor of Physical Therapy prior to initiating a new exercise regiment.

A Physical Therapist’s Guide to Movements to Beat the Work Day

1. Prone press up. The ultimate anti -sit. When sitting at a typical office chair, your hips and often the lumbar spine gravitate towards a flexed position, causing a domino effect up the chain of your spine. Laying flat on the floor off-weights your spine and gets it into extension. Its as simple as that, to counter flexion stress, do more extension. You may be amazed how much better doing this throughout your day can make you feel! If your office space is limited and you cant get on the floor, do this standing and leaning back, trying to let your lower back to relax into the stretch.

2. Lunge hip flexor stretch. It is very common for people who sit a lot to have very tight hip flexors! It is no mystery why they can get that way when staying in a static and shortened position all day long. The key to feeling the stretch on this is doing a posterior pelvic tilt, or tucking the butt in while you lean forward into the stretch.

3. Hamstring stretch. Undo the knee bend by straightening out the knees. Often times your back may want to slouch or flex in this position, so focus on keeping a relatively straight back and lean forward into the stretch.

4. Shoulder external rotation standing. This one helps offset the tendency to have rounded shoulders. If you want more challenge, use an exercise band for resistance. Activating and strengthening this group of shoulder and middle back muscles are critical for maintaining a neutral upright posture.

5. Chin tucks. This is the opposite of poking your head forward like a chicken. Sit up (or stand) tall, bring your chin back and make your biggest double chin. While your Instagram may not like it, your spine will.

6. Hands up surrender, laying down. This exercise stretches your pectoral muscles and if you go up overhead more, your Lats. Both of those muscle can tend to get very tight with extended sitting. Lay down on the floor, if you want even more stretch lay on a foam roller length wise, bring your arms up and let them relax. Take deep breaths and just stay there for at least 1 minute.

7. Stand up and walk! Sounds very simple, because it is. Take breaks when you can. Whatever it takes to get upright, and get some blood flowing while you are at it.

#healthyoffice #healthyhabits #stayactive


Dr. Benji Toh

We help active adults with sports injuries and chronic pain recover and live the active lives they desire without the use of pain meds, injections, or surgery.
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