Reverse Your Desk Posture With These 4 Exercises
“Sitting is the new smoking”, and as a matter of fact it always has been detrimental to health; however, it wasn’t until a few years ago that it began surfacing as a serious health risk.
If you are living a high sedentary lifestyle, then chances are a lot of negative physical reactions are happening to your body. In addition to tightness in the hips, cramping in the legs, and pain in the neck, shoulders, and back, sitting at a desk for hours at a time is linked to a poor unhealthy posture.
Between sitting at a desk, driving, looking down at your phone or tablet, and even eating, the average person whose work involves sitting at computer is misaligning their spine at least 10 hours a day MINIMUM!
Well believe it or not, I do have some good news for all of us suffering from “desk posture”! Doing the four moves mentioned below on a daily basis will not only relieve tension in your neck, shoulders, wrists, and back, but also help reverse the damage created by those long days of sitting.
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
If there is only one move you can squeeze into your day, make it a downward facing dog! This holistic pose stretches and strengthens so many parts of the body all at once. While doing the inverted “V” shape pose you are reducing tension in the shoulders, relaxing the neck, increasing blood flow to the brain, and stretching out the wrists, hands, and legs.
How To: Come into an inverted “V” shape on your mat with your feet hip width apart and your hands outstretched in front of you. Ground all of your fingertips and knuckles at the base of your fingers firmly into the mat with fingers spread wide. Actively draw your shoulder blades down your back to create more space in your neck. Stick your tailbone out (as if you were pressing your belly button toward your thighs) and if you find yourself rounding your spine then bend your knees softly. Focus your attention and breathe deeply for up to a minute or longer.
It is so important to stretch the side of your body as your sides are what bring balance to your entire body. Side bends lengthen your abdominal muscles, hips, and thigh muscles while improving flexibility. It also targets the muscles between the ribs that are most vulnerable to shortening when you sit or slouch. Stretching these muscles will open up the ribcage and lungs to help improve your breathing.
How To: Stand with your feet grounded about hip distance apart. Begin with one hand behind your head and the other arm down to the floor. Bend to the side toward the extended arm. Make sure your pelvis does not twist and your feet stay grounded while your top elbow is pointing up to the ceiling. Lean your head back into your hand for a deeper stretch. Take about four deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
Forward bends are the ultimate go-to for releasing stress and anxiety, and with an added arm bind, it provides a deep shoulder stretch as well. After sitting all day, it is great to turn your world upside down, literally, and get blood flowing back to your brain while stretching out your shoulders and legs.
How To: Stand with your feet hip width apart and slowly bend forward, reaching for your toes. To take the strain off your lower back, bend your knees gently. Try adding an arm bind to stretch shoulders by interlacing your hands at the lower back and stretching your arms over your head toward the ground in front of you.
Upward Facing Dog
This stretch is a great upper body stretch that improves lung capacity and of course, posture. It is also therapeutic for sciatica, asthma, fatigue, and mild depression.
How To: Lie with your head facing your mat and take a few deep breathes in and relax your body. Then take a deep breath in, using your hand push your upper body up, keeping your knees, thighs, and feet on your mat. Focus on keeping your shoulders away from your ears and your wrists back. To deepen, draw your shoulder blades together. Take a few deep breathes and then release. Repeat as necessary.
Have any in-office exercises you enjoy doing? Share them in comments below!