Recent studies have found that sitting in the same position for more than 8 hours a day at work can reduce the amount of blood that reaches your brain, leading to decreased mental productivity. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that prolonged sitting is a form of sedentary behaviour and can put you at risk of certain health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. One of the best ways to avoid these problems is to do office exercises at regular short intervals throughout your day at work.
Here’s a look at three such exercises.
Seated Thoracic Rotation
One of the health problems associated with prolonged sitting is a stiff thoracic spine, which is essentially the area between your lower back and neck consisting of your rib cage and 12 thoracic vertebrae. A stiff thoracic spine increases the spine’s natural curve, decreasing your ability to extend and rotate. In turn, this causes you to adopt a poor posture, such as forward head posture, resulting in more health problems, including headaches and neck pain. The best exercise to do at your desk to prevent developing a stiff thoracic spine is seated thoracic rotation. To do this exercise, follow these steps:
- While seated in your office chair, push your shoulders back and down
- Cross your arms across your chest
- Leading with your right arm, rotate your upper body to the right side until you feel a stretch in your left upper back
- Hold for at least two minutes
- Repeat on the left side of your body
Figure 4 Stretch
If your job causes you to suffer from hip problems such as soreness, tightness, and pain, this is the best exercise to do at your desk. Targeting the four main hip flexors, namely-the sartorius, tensor fasciae latae, rectus femoris, and Iliopsoas, this hip stretch exercise loosens these four muscles. It improves mobility and flexibility in your glutes, hips, and piriformis (a small muscle located behind the gluteus maximus). To do this exercise, follow these steps:
- Lie on your back, either on your table or on the floor with both feet flat on the floor
- Cross your left ankle over your right knee
- Use your hands to pull your right knee toward your chest slowly, pausing when you feel a stretch in your left hip and glute
- Take deep breaths and hold that position for about two minutes
- Repeat these steps on your right side
If you are a yoga enthusiast, you’re likely familiar with the cat-cow pose, otherwise known as the Marjaiasana/Bitilasana pose. As the name implies, this is a combination of two yoga poses, the Marjaiasana (cat pose) and the Bitilasana (cow pose), which stretch the back and front of the torso, respectively relieving tension in the neck and spine. Additionally, this stretching exercise opens up the chest cavity, allowing more air to enter the lungs, thereby improving your breathing. The cat-cow is an exercise you can do at your desk. To do this exercise, follow these steps:
- Firstly, while sitting in your office chair, arch your spine upwards, allowing your stomach to come forward and at the same time, extend your lower back muscles
- Secondly, lift your chest and then arch your neck as far back as you can and hold that pose for about 5 seconds
- Thirdly, reverse the movement. To reverse the movement, first, tuck in your chin slowly, then start rounding into your upper, mid-back, and lower back in that order and then finally tuck n your hips
- Fourthly, repeat this process two to three times
To reduce your chance of developing the health problems associated with prolonged sitting at work, do these three office exercises. It is equally important to ensure you carry health insurance coverage. Our agents at Pittman Insurance Group LLC are able to evaluate your commercial insurance needs and provide you with policies for both your home and business.