They say that “sitting is the new smoking”, but the reality is that “immobility is the new smoking”. What that means is that there are really aren’t any bad positions (sitting hunched vs upright), but being in any one position for a prolonged period of time can increase the likelihood of developing pain. So how does this apply to our daily life? Most of us spend the majority of our day sitting. This is increasingly true if you have a job in an office. As a result, being immobile for 6+ hours/day can actually result in joints feeling stiff, tight, and worse of all painful. Working out for 45min to an hour a day can be great to help add some movement to your routine, however, it only accounts for 4% of the day. It is crucial for us to stay as mobile and active as possible to reduce the risk of developing pain.
Here are three go to exercises that I give my patients who have issues with tight lower backs and shoulders:
The standing back bend. This requires little to no equipment and can actually be done anywhere. Stand up nice and tall, then place your hands on your buttocks. Keeping your eyes even with the horizon, lean back and apply a little pressure against your hips. Imagine you are doing the limbo. Complete about 10 reps, and see how you feel. I recommend completing this 2-3x/day
Repositioning in the chair. Notice what your posture is and where you are sitting. Is most of your weight on your butt cheeks or sit bones? All you need to do is shift your weight and your position to the opposite point and hold that for about 15-20 minutes and then return to your normal position. You might feel a great stretch in your hips and your low back. Try this out a couple times per day.
Shoulder opener. This can often get butchered, as people have a tendency to drive the head forward, which can crank on the neck. Find a wall/doorway, and make a 90 degree angle at your elbow and shoulder (think ½ of a field goal). Once you place your hand up on the wall, drive your chest forward and away from the wall so that you can feel a great stretch in your pec and not the front of your shoulder (area between your nipple and armpit. Once you feel the stretch, take 5-10 deep breaths before you switch sides. Try this out 2-3x/day as well.
You can watch the videos of these stretches on our instagram!
Try these three techniques in the office today and let me know how it goes. All of these stretches should be pain free and you should be feeling better as a result.
If you are looking for more ways to implement movement into your life? Book a free no sweat intro with a coach today. No matter what your fitness level is, we will come up with a plan of action that can help you achieve your goals. You can book here.
Have a great week!
Dr. Ashley Mak, PT, DPT
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