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Chained To Your Desk? Here Are 6 Exercises To Keep You Moving

Working at a desk can be a real pain in the neck.

And back... and even shoulders!

Doing stretching exercises at your desk may feel awkward, especially when in view of your colleagues! But remember that whenever you sit at your computer at work, you are doing one of the worst things you can do to your body -- sitting still. Prolonged periods in a seated position can be notoriously bad not just for your back, but for many other bones and joints. The way you sit, type and pick up the phone may be causing internal havoc, and you could be in for some serious problems as you get older.

Exercising at work

As with most impending problems in life, it's best to nip this in the bud.

Here at Hands On Health Clinic, we can help you with many of these ailments. But we're not just here to provide direct relief via massage, acupuncture or chiropractic treatment - here are some (literally) life changing tips to help strengthen your back muscles, flex your joints and improve your mobility.

Best of all? They only take a few minutes, so your colleagues may not even notice! Unless of course, you're the lady in this picture. It's possible there were a few witnesses.

  1. Stand up, then sit down -- without using your hands. This pushes your leg and back muscles into action, and if you do it while on the phone, pretend to look towards the manager's office as if checking they're in. No-one will be any the wiser!

  2. A more novel approach would be to replace your desk chair with an exercise ball. Unusual, we grant you - but you'll be engaging all the muscles in your back, legs, and bum, in order to stay balanced

  3. Shrug your shoulders - this loosens the neck as well as shoulders. Inhale deeply while doing so, lifting them as far as you can towards your ears. Hold. release, drop, and do it three times. An alternate exercise is to rotate your shoulders, forwards 10 times, then backwards 10 times

  4. To open your chest, stretch your arms behind you as if you were trying to reach something between your shoulder blades. Alternatively, stand in a doorway, holding the frame on either side, and walk forward until you feel your chest stretching

  5. Spinal rotations - Sit straight with your feet on the floor and hands on your hips. Turn to the right to the point where you feel a good stretch in your side. Then turn all the way to the left. Repeat this movement 5 times

  6. Extending your back - hold your hips and bend backwards, and hold for a few seconds. Then lean forward and slowly move your hands towards the floor.

Even though these exercises can be done in just a few minutes, they should be done slowly - it’s not a race. Sudden movements can do you more damage than good.

We also need to to mention the workstation itself. Have you had a Workstation Assessment recently? Poor positioning of your chair and computer are the root causes of muscle tension in an office environment. The neck, shoulders, and back are all at risk of spasms, aches and pains.

With this in mind, here’s how to keep yourself as pain-free as possible;

  • Adjust your chair so that you have a slight forward tilt. Your hips should be slightly higher than your knees

  • Alter the height of the backrest in order that the part that sticks out, fits comfortably in the small of your back

  • The keyboard should be at an appropriate distance from you, so that when you are not typing, your wrists can relax

  • Sit close to your desk to reduce the strain of leaning forward

  • One third of your monitor should be above eye level, so that your head is kept straight, rather than craning forward and pulling on your neck muscles.

Evolution of Back Pain

If you’re suffering from back pain, muscle spasms or aches, come and see us. We’ll provide a full assessment and expert diagnosis of your specific issue, and prescribe the best course of treatment for you.

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