Tips on how to look after your body in the office
It’s September! That time of year again when the kids go back to school, we get back into normality and routine. A lucky few are jetting off on a child free holiday. But, most of us are returning back to our work routine. As we all know, sitting in front of your computer all day takes a toll on your health and can be taxing on the body as well as the mind, but with a few minor adjustments you can feel much better throughout and at the end of your working day.
Even though my job as a fitness instructor and nutritionist is active, I still spend long spells at my desk writing nutrition plans, blogs, newsletters, planning classes, posting on social media etc.
It is important to make sure you are comfortable at your desk…your chair position or desk height often isn’t the main problem but rather sitting for too long in the same position can cause tension, headaches, back problems , poor posture etc. You can make small changes that will make you feel less tensed, tight and uncomfortable throughout the day therefore reducing the negative impact.
Below are a few tips you can try. I hope you find them useful and make a habit of using even just a couple of them regularly.
Sitting down for prolonged periods (even in the most comfortable of chairs) is taxing on the body. Tightness in the hips, abdominals, neck and shoulders are only a few of the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Try to find as many moments in your day where you can to stand up – even if it is just for 30 seconds! Try standing when you take phone calls, talk to a colleague or while watching your screen.
Break long spells of sitting still by setting up a timer to remind you to change position or do a bit of mobilising and stretching. Every time the alarm goes off (every 20-30 minutes maybe) do a few movements such as:
1. Rolling your shoulders back a few times
2. Stretching your arms up towards the ceiling (stretch your fingers wide away from each other)
3. Placing your hands behind your head and pressing your head back-into the hands
4. Stretch your arms out to the sides with palms facing up and then take the arms as far behind the body as you can (pulsing back a few times)
Every time you get up and about during the day, use it as an opportunity to increase blood flow, move and stretch your leg muscles. Your calf and hip muscles can easily be stretched by leaning against a wall or a counter with one leg in front of the other – keep the back heel firmly on the ground and lean the pelvis forward until you feel the stretch. Tuck your tailbone under and pull your stomach and chest up to feel a stretch also at the front of the hips.
If you’re working from home, or a small office where you feel comfortable!… try abandoning your chair for a couple minutes a few times during the day and sitting on the floor. There are many benefits to this position and getting to the floor and up again is a great exercise in itself. While sitting on the floor you are much more likely to be constantly mobilising your joints and stretching leg, hip and back muscles.
During a long day of work your brain is bombarded with lots of information that can create an overload which accumulates to high levels of stress. You can really reduce this stress by taking just a five 5 minute break once a day to do a complete shutdown. I use an app called ‘Headspace’. You don’t have to use an app though – simply sit comfortably in your chair, close your eyes and focus on your breath – becoming mindful of how you inhale and exhale. And yes, you will be thinking about other things… but when you realise it, just come back to your breath. You know you CAN make/find the time for this. Give it a go, it may make you feel much better.
Pilates helps you align your spine and strengthens your neck and shoulders. This can help minimize the back pain office workers have due to sitting at their desk all day. It can also help reduce neck pain by releasing muscle tension and building up strength.
Pilates is also a great way to strengthen your core, which improves your overall posture. This can be important for office workers since many slump over a desk most of the day. And even after the day is done, that poor posture follows you, creating muscle tension and pain that lasts long after you leave the office.
And last, but not least, is the overall stress reduction that comes from regular Pilates practice. If you tend to carry a lot of stress around and suffer from tension headaches or general muscle tension, Pilates will help.
As you can see, Pilates has plenty to offer office workers! So, if you’re stuck inside an office all day and you’re tired of muscle stress and pain, give Pilates a try!
My Pilates classes are held in Maghera, Magherafelt and Limavady. Click here for the next course
If you aren’t able to make it to a class, my DVD has everything you need. You can purchase it here
If you have any questions feel free to contact me
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Tips on how to look after your body in the office