Desk-bound? – Smart Guys Mobilise

Desk-bound? – Smart Guys Mobilise

We seem to spend even more time at our desks these days, not just at work but social networking; all of which have us hunched over our computers for hours on end and likely to result in stiff backs, neck, shoulder pain and perhaps headaches too. Even if you have taken steps with regards to ergonomics, ie your chair, desk, computer screen, the fact you remain in one position and immobile for long periods of time can create problems.

Think about practising the following movements and stretches at least once per hour preferably every half hour!

Back, Shoulder & Neck Exercises to Keep You Moving

  1. Get up and Move:
    Make an excuse visit the photocopier! Put your printer at the other end of the room. Go and talk to a colleague rather than send them an email.
  2. Relieving Lower-Back stiffness and tension:
    Sit forward in your seat with the natural curves of the spine, keeping neck and shoulders still, roll your pelvis backward (tail bone underneath you (sink tuck roll) and then roll the pelvis forwards to return to the start position – repeat 10 times
  3. Relieving Upper-Back tension:
    Reach your arms forward interlink your fingers (palms facing you) soften your elbows and feel the stretch across your upper back, then turn your hands away from you, drop the chin towards the chest, keep the shoulders relaxed
  4. Relieving Chest tension:
    Arms out in front of you, palms up to the ceiling, open the arms out and up in a V-shape to the sky, nice and strong! – Turn your head to the right hold for 5 seconds, then to the left and hold for 5 seconds – repeat each side. Feel the chest opening
  5. Relieving Shoulder tension:
    Extend your right arm across your chest and hold it with your left hand just above the elbow (the fleshy part of the arm), hold for 10 seconds – repeat on the other side and once more on each side.
  6. Relieving Neck tension:
    • Jut your chin forwards and then draw it back towards you thinking about ears over shoulders feel the neck muscles lengthen
    • Then lower your chin towards your chest and slowly lift it – repeat a few times
    • Sitting tall at your desk drop your right shoulder towards the floor as you tilt your head to the left (left ear to left shoulder) – feel the stretch on the right side of the neck and hold for 5 seconds – repeat on the other side and twice more on each side

Now, it’s time for me to take my own advice – excuse me while I get up and stretch…

Further Reading

Stretching is such an important subject that it is worth spending more time on it:

Kelly Starrat’s book contains loads of mobilisations to counter the effects of sitting down plus advice on how to move to a standing desk.

For an excellent set of stretches that you can do in the office (plus more that you can do at home), take a look at Bob Anderson’s book.

Further Action

Our popular series of PodCasts now includes stretch programs to help you put stretch into your daily routine. At 10 – 12 minutes for the routine it makes it easy to fit into a busy schedule.

A Posture Assessment is a good place to start if you are concerned about the way you stand or sit. Get feedback on your posture and help on how to improve it.

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