It is probably safe to assume that if you are reading this, you’re more likely than not to be sat at a desk, on your sofa hunched over a coffee table, or on the tube or the bus en route to or from work. It will come as no surprise to anyone that year on year, the amount of time we all spend sitting down has been increasing, and neither it will be a surprise to you, if you are one of the millions of people who sits down to work all day, that sitting down can cause some horrible muscle pains.
Research from the NHS has shown that excessive sitting down can lead to a myriad of health problems, including being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Many adults, particularly office workers, end up sitting down for up to 7 hours a day (which increases to 10 hours a day for the over 65’s), which can reduce your metabolism, in turn affecting your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down fat.
Long periods of time, where you are hunched over a laptop at your desk don’t just leave you with a sore neck, or back, it can negatively affect your entire body. It can leave the muscles across the front of your body tighter, which in turn affects the range of movement in your hips (hip mobility is fundamental to a range of important movements, from running and jumping, to walking), can lead to a tightening of the muscles in your lower back, and can cause neck strain as your muscles try to correct the fact you are leaning or hunched over at an angle.
Poor posture, which is the result of hours of sitting down for long periods of time, can weaken your abdominal muscles, straining your back muscles further, and adding stress to your bones and muscles across your whole body. Sitting down at your desk or on the train really can be devastating for your health.
Some companies provide the option of having a standing desk, or standing meetings, but the realities of life in an office is that these things don’t really work.
So what options are available to you, whilst in the office, to try & counter some of the negative effects of sitting all day.
Flexpert Emily demonstrates 5 movements which can be done at your desk, or when you go for a coffee, which can alleviate some of the negative effects of sitting down all day.
The Scalene StretchSit in a chair, keeping your trunk stable, clasp both hands behind your back. Lower your left shoulder and tilt head towards the right side until you feel a stretch. Repeat the same sequence on the other side. Hold for 15-30s.
The Upper Back / Rhomboids StretchSit in a chair, stretch both arms out in front of your body, clasp one hand on top of the other hand. Gently reach out so you feel your shoulder blades stretching away from each other. Gently bend your head forward. Hold for 15 to 30s.
The Glute / Piriformis StretchSit upright in a sturdy chair and place your right ankle on your left thigh, just above your knee. Place your hands on your shins. Keeping your spine straight lean slightly forward to deepen the stretch. Hold for 20-30s. Return to neutral and repeat with the other leg.
The Lower Back / QL StretchSit upright in a chair, sit with your feet shoulder distance apart. Reach down with your right arm in between your legs, leaning slightly forward. Reach overhead with your left arm and lean toward your right side. Hold pose for up to 30s then switch sides.
Pop into our studio in Canary Wharf, and one of our Flexperts will be able to walk you through some more stretches, and give you some advice on what you can do if you are suffering from muscle soreness as a result of being sat at a desk all day.