A uniform working position is an everyday occurance for many people. Regardless whether you sit or walk on your job, inappropriate and repeated movements can result in tension and imbalance in your muscles. Often, this leads to a changed posture, joint and muscle pain, headache and lack of energy.
If you have a wrong position in the spine for a longer period at a time, not only the spine is affected negatively. Shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and joints of the foot can also be highly affected of the fact that the back and its nearby muscular system is not working correctly. Unnecessary muscle tensions result in a reduced blood flow in the concerned muscles, which means lack of oxygen and nutrients to these muscles. Furthermore, waste products are accumulated to a greater extent.
When there is not sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, and the waste products are not transported away, muscles and joints are ”malnourished” and there is an increased risk of infections and tensions that affect other areas of the body. For instance, too great tensions in the neck can result in headache and pain in the lower back. Too many tensions in the lower back can lead to pain in the legs and so on. The tensions are worsened even more due to stress and strain to meet deadlines etc.
Training and exercise can reduce pain and other side effects of inappropriate working positions, and you get a reward for your effort both in the short and the long run. You will feel the effect of your training and exercise immediately after the exercise, and you will feel the effect in the long run because you get in a better shape. This means that you can sit, stand and walk more correctly and effectively, which also reduces pain and tensions.
If you are too tired to exercise after a day at the office, you can use your working hours to get into a better shape, keep your pain down or even reduce it.
Power naps have become popular for providing energy and help you get through your work day, but moving also provides you with energy and is healthy for the entire body. If you belong to those who sit 8 hours a day, your body would love you to make following exercises once a day. You will get renewed energy and stretch those muscles that are contracted when you sit down. Moreover, your stress level is reduced since the brain ”takes time off” in the minutes that it takes to perform the exercises.
Venous pump exercise – counteracts heavy legs
Stand with feet slightly apart. Lift yourself up on the toes. Keep standing while you count to 2 and let yourself ”fall” down on your whole foot again. Repeat the exercise 5 times.
Purpose: increases the blood flow and transports waste products away effectively.
Stand with legs hip distance apart in front of your office chair. Pull your abdomen in and lift your chest slightly forwards. Sit down and stand up from your chair with back straight. Pull your abdomen in and lift your chest slightly forwards.
Purpose: Strengthens leg and buttock muscles, improves the blood flow in legs, buttocks and lower back.
Stretch exercise for spine and abdominal muscles
Adjust the back rest of your office chair so it can tip backwards. Lean backwards on your office chair and sway your back. Pull your arm over your head. Look backwards and take some deep breaths. Keep the position for as long as you think it is comfortable, and then lean forwards and sit straight again. Repeat the exercise 5 times. If you are not used to stretch your back in this way, it might hurt a bit or you might get dizzy. It becomes better the more times you perform the exercise, but remember to listen to your body and do not press it too hard.
Purpose: stretches abdomen and chest muscles as well as upper back. Improve the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the spine.
Slackening of the upper part of the back
Stand with feet shoulder distance apart. Lift elbows at chest height and press them against each other. Breath in deeply while you lift your elbows towards the ceiling as far as you can while your elbows are kept together. When you no longer can keep your elbows together, you let go and lead your arm to the side and then down while breathing out. Repeat the exercise 5 times.
Purpose: relaxes the muscles of the upper part of your back.
Stretch exercise for your front shoulder, chest and stretching of the spine
Place your hands on the back rest of a chair, or on the edge of a table in shoulder distance apart. Stand approx. 1 metre apart from table or chair. Lean forwards so your hip is bent. Pull in your navel towards the spine to support the spine. Keep this position for 10-20 seconds while you take some deep breaths.
Purpose: Stretches the spine, upper muscles of the back and back thighs.
Venous pump exercises for neck and shoulders
Sit on your chair without leaning against the back rest. Straighten your back completely. Lift shoulders up to your ears and breathe in. Hold your shoulders lifted and hold your breath while you count to 5. Let them fall down again while you breathe out.
Purpose: Increases blood flow and transports waste products away effectively.
Stretch exercise for neck muscles
Sit down or stand up with completely straight back. Let your head fall straight down to one side and turn the head so you look down slantwise to the side. Put one hand on your head to increase the stretch. Avoid to pull your head. Hold this position for 15-20 seconds and repeat the exercise to the opposite side.
Purpose: stretches neck and throat muscles. Reduces tensions in throat and neck area.