The top tips to improving your posture and having a pain free day!
If you work in front of a computer or at a desk all day you probably know how painful your body can feel by the end of your shift. There are many issues that can arise from having a desk job if you aren't paying attention to your posture. Many of us don't take notice of the damage we are doing while sitting for 8+ hrs a day until pain presents itself. This then leads to lower quality workouts due to tight/weakened muscles which can just leave us feeling worse walking out of the gym.
So what are some typical problems caused by having a desk job?
Tight hip flexors- this can affect a lot of our exercise, running in particular. Tight hip flexors will affect the length of your strides which can lead to injury from the overload on other muscles that are compensating.
Weakened core strength- While we are sitting (especially in seats with back rests) our core is switched off. If we are sitting for prolonged amounts of time our bodies become used to not engaging our core effectively. This means when we get up and do other things in our day or exercise, our lower back compensates for the lack of core stability and can result in lower back pain.
Tight chest- Slumped position while sitting means our shoulders roll forward and our pectoral muscles become tight. Poor posture can lead to increased risk of injury and can cause headaches/migraines which is the last thing you need for a long day at work.
Weakened upper back muscles- Slumped position from the shoulder rolling forward means there's no engagement of our upper back muscles. Doing this for 8+hrs a day means we aren't using our back muscles effectively which leads to unconditioned back strength and cause for a lot of back injuries during exercise.
So what can we do about all these things resulting from sitting all day?
Here are some stretches and exercises that will help relieve your aches and pains and in turn improve your workouts!
Lunging hip stretch-
- Kneel on your left knee. Place your right foot flat on the floor in front of you, knee bent.
- Lean forward, stretching your left hip toward the floor.
- Squeeze your butt; this will allow you to stretch your hip flexor even more.
- Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
- Switch sides and repeat.
Improving core strength
Prone Hold is an effective and simple way of improving your core stability and strength.
Aim to hold for 30 seconds or more. As you improve, increase the amount of time you hold the Prone Hold. Make sure to engage your core so that you aren't relying on your lower back to hold you up.
Stand in the middle of a doorway with one foot in front of the other. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and place your forearms on each side of the doorway. Shift your weight onto your front leg, leaning forward until you feel a stretch in your chest muscles. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on both sides.
Improving back strength-
Exercises like the cable row are a great way to work on conditioning the back muscles. Make sure to do rowing exercises slowly to avoid getting a sore lower back. Engage your core and hold the top your position at the top of the movement to feel the squeeze between your shoulder blades for a second.
Lower back stretch-
Slowly twist by lowering your left knee across your body and aim to get as close to the floor as possible. Push on your knee to put extra load and get a better stretch out of your lower back. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.