The number of office jobs has ballooned over the past half century and has caused numerous postural issues to become the norm in North American society. Forward neck posture, rounded shoulders, mid back humping and low back pain are found in virtually every office environment. Despite the growing evidence concerning the negative impact of sitting, many individuals feel almost tied to their desk with few opportunities to get up during the working day. It’s unrealistic to expect employees to get up every 20 minutes to complete a series of stretches, but there are a few good exercises office workers can do in order to decrease strain on the body and try to balance out some of the negative aspects of sitting at a desk. Not everyone will be able to complete all of these exercises, so it’s important to have a professional ensure these exercises are right for you.
1. Brugger’s Exercise: Sit at the end of your chair with your toes pointed out. Point your thumbs up and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you push out your chest and tuck your chin in. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds if possible.
2. Standing Pec Stretch: Stand up and placeone hand on top of the other. Gently push your hands down to the ground as you push your chest forward. You should feel a comfortable stretch in the front of the shoulders. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
3. Pelvic Tilting: While standing, try to pull your belly button in to your spine and tuck your buttocks in. Hold the squeeze and relax. Perform 5 reps, 1-2 times per day.
We live in a sedentary world and the best way to combat that is to get up and move whenever possible. Changing the work environment can be a difficult task and it’s unlikely that you will be able to do stretches numerous times a day, but it’s important to have other activities that allow you to move. The 3 exercises above can help many office workers decrease the strain on their bodies and improve posture, but there is no substitute for movement. This could range anywhere from organized sports to simply walking around the block everyday.