Prolonged sitting day after day can take a toll on your health. Poor posture positions and misaligned body mechanics in the workplace are a common cause of back pain. Combine that with frequently repeated motions for a prolonged period, such as working at a computer, looking at screens, and talking on the phone can lead to repetitive stress syndrome.
Let's face it, sitting for a long time is uncomfortable, and for some, it hurts or even causes muscle and joint pain. Extended periods spent sitting multiplied by months and years well documented to increased adverse effects on our posture and overall health and wellness.
Individuals who sit for six hours or more per day have an increased risk of:
In addition to these risks, your musculoskeletal system can pay the price. Prolonged sitting and accompanying repetitive stress can cause the soft tissues and joints to adapt to the demand of being seated all day long. The musculoskeletal requirement of a seated posture, over time, can lead to low back pain, tight hips, a forward head, round spine, and internally rotated shoulders, to name a few associated position changes.
For an athlete or active individual, extended sitting can easily compromise your performance despite doing all the right things with your training, nutrition, supplements, and dynamic recovery protocols.
As a Corrective Exercise and Posture Specialist, I don't believe the human body was meant to be seated or static all day long. As such, I encourage all my clients and social media followers to establish a "posture break" routine that can help offset the adverse effects.
Getting into the habit of taking a regular "posture break" can have a profound and positive impact on your day in mind ability to think clearly and accomplish tasks), body (decrease aches and pain), and spirit. (alleviate stress).
To help alleviate the discomfort prolonged sitting can make on the body, It's essential to take a periodic posture and rest breaks.
Here are three moves to relieve the strain from sitting all day. They are simple, powerful, and effective corrective exercises to:
offset muscle pain
reduce stress and tension
increase oxygen delivery to the brain and vital organs
improve your posture
These movements will help you stretch overly tight muscles and engage weak muscles. Set a timer to take a posture break and incorporate them throughout your workday.
1. Seated Elbow Curls (20-25 each) and Pullovers (10-20)
2. Seated Hip Stretch (1-2 minutes/side)
￼3. Standing Desk Stretch (1-2 minutes)
Be mindful when performing the exercises. Start with establishing a proper postural alignment, and do them slowly with a focus on deep breathing. Think quality of the movement, versus quantity or speed.
As an additional bonus, if you have more time to spend, here is an extra and more extended set of exercises desk jockey can do to help improve posture and unravel healthy muscle and joint pain associated with sitting for long periods.
As with all exercises, be mindful that these are a set of generic movements that work for most individuals and does not replace having a set of moves put together for your unique posture and functional needs. Should you experience any "not okay" pain from a movement, listen to your body, and seek the assistance of a local movement specialist in your area.
Regardless of the option you choose to perform, when completed, be sure to get some fresh air and a change of scenery with a short walk.
Your body will thank you.
If you have questions at any time, please feel free to connect with me. Enjoy!
1. Mayo Clinic: Sitting Risks: How harmful is too much sitting?
2. National Institute of Health: Too Much Sitting: The Population-Health Science of Sedentary Behavior
Author: Deb Preachuk, BRS, BPE, CF-L1, Pn-1, is a Comprehensive Certified STOTT Pilates Instructor, Level 2 Foundation Training Instructor, TBMM Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist, and the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN. In addition to running PainFree Posture MN, Deb is a Fitness Coach at Orangetheory Fitness and teaches regularly at the Apple Valley, MN location.