Desk aerobics

Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018
man sitting at a desk with sore back

Do you work a desk job? Do you have frequent headaches? Does your low back ache? Are you waking up stiff? Are your neck and shoulders sore? Of course! You are spending nearly eight hours every day sitting at work. And you are probably commuting (read: sitting) to get to and from work. And you sit at your lunch break. And then you sit to watch TV or read or eat dinner at night. This is a relatively new phenomenon that developed when many of us transitioned from a more laborious job (agriculture, manufacturing) to desk jobs. Humans are not made to sit for this long in a constantly flexed position.

So, here's what you are going to do. Set a timer on your computer or phone to go off every 30-45 minutes. Make it fun by getting the whole office involved!

woman at a desk with neck pain

First you are going to shift your butt to the end of your chair to stretch out your glutes like this:
Glute Stretch: Bring one foot and place it on your opposite knee. Place one hand on your knee and the other on your foot. Sit up straight and slowly lean forward. Hold for 5 deep breaths, then stretch the other side. Then, you are going to stand up and warm up your shoulders and neck by raising one arm to the side all the way up. Do this 10 times on each side. Next, you will look up and over each shoulder 10 times. Following your brief warm up, you will do the following stretches:
Neck Stretch: With one arm behind your back and one hand grabbing your head, gently pull your ear toward your shoulder. Hold for 5 deep breaths.
Shoulder Stretch: Try to touch your fingers behind your back. Hold for one second then switch to the other side. Alternate each side for a total of 10 (attempted) finger touches.
Wrist Stretches: Grab one hand with fingers pointed up and palm facing you, then palm facing away, then fingers down and palm facing you, then palm facing away. Hold each for 5 seconds then switch to the other hand.

These exercises will take you less than five minutes to perform. Your body will feel so much better and your brain will be more productive from the brief break.