Hello fellow deskatarians! Do you suffer from a lack of energy at the end of the day? Are you continually struggling with headaches, back pain and hip pain? Well if so, this blog post is for you. Similar to many of the lovely clients at Lead, I also sit in a cube all day. I need to do Pilates by night to keep my body in tip-top shape from spending most of my day in the sedentary position of sitting. I want to share some of my tips and tricks that I use to minimize the damage to my body during the workday.
Sitting all day literally sucks the life out of us
The lack of energy at the end of the day is because our bodies do not move enough between the hours of 9 to 5. When your body doesn’t move your blood becomes stagnant, vital nutrients and oxygen cannot optimally reach all the cells in your body. If you are sitting with poor posture, you are overusing muscles that are meant only to be used for short periods of time nonstop for eight hours a day for five days a week. So, a potential solution to boost your energy levels at the end of the day (that energy you need to get you to Pilates after work) is to use your break time wisely. Use your water breaks and bathroom breaks as an opportunity to move a little further. Find a bathroom or water station that is further away from your desk and find the long way back to your office to resume your sitting position. Rather than send an email or an instant message to a work colleague, go to their desk for an in-person chat to get those legs moving and blood flowing.
Headaches, back pain, and hip pain are all in the reality of your common 9-5er. You are not alone. A potential solution to alleviate your pain is to do some simple, easy stretches throughout the day. Carve five minutes break into your morning and afternoon coffee breaks and lunch break (that is three extra stretch breaks a day). Some of the common muscles that get tight through a day of sitting are easily stretched in your work clothes.
Better Breaks with Workplace Stretches
- Let’s start with the hips. While sitting all day your hips are in flexion. Keep those hips happy and healthy by doing a simple hip flexor stretch. Happy and healthy hips also mean a happy and healthy spine because “the hip bone is connected to the backbone!” To stretch out the hip flexors, start in a standing position and step one leg forward and the opposite leg back, and bend the front knee like you are doing a lunge. This stretch will create an opening in hip flexor in the back leg.
- Now let’s move onto those pesky shoulders. Our shoulders start to roll forward because our desk job requires our arms to be out in front of us so our phalanges (fancy name for fingers) can clickety-clack at the keyboard and mouse. When we have our arms forward for long periods, our pectoral muscles are overworked and get tight. One end of these muscles attaches to our arm and the other end to our torso near the sternum and clavicle and, when they are tight, the pectoral muscles create an internal rotation of our shoulder. To stretch your pectoral muscles, all you need is an office doorway. As you can see in the photo, you grab onto the doorway with one hand and step forward to open up through the front of the shoulder. You can move the hand up higher and down lower to access different parts of the pectoral muscles.
- Now for the feet and legs! The shoes that we wear to work, especially shoes with a positive heel (even a low one), put our feet through a lot of torture and torment. So, let those feet be free and decompress over a pinky ball and stretch out those calves with a half foam roller.
And remember, Pilates does a body good so get to a class today!