Working from home during lockdown has proven to be a mental and physical challenge, with many people underestimating the impact sitting down all day has on their bodies.
Workplace injuries are not limited to those working in physically enduring jobs, office workers also face a number of musculoskeletal conditions due to extended periods seated.
A great way to counter these negative strains, is to follow a simple daily home stretching routine and we’ve created a great ten minute one just for you!
What Are the Impacts of Prolonged Sitting
Typically, the human body is designed to function in an upright position therefore prolonged periods of sitting down can contribute to the development of various health issues.
These issues may be short-term, however, if left untreated can become progressively worse over time.
Short Term Impacts
- Weight Gain, as your digestive system is less efficient when you are sedentary
- Weakening of your legs and gluteal muscles
- Problems with your hip joint
- Lower back pain
- Poor posture
- Stiffness in your neck and shoulders
- Links to depression and anxiety
Long Term Impacts
- Increases risk of heart disease
- Linked to diabetes
- Increases the risk of a number of cancers including lung, colon, and uterine
- Varicose veins
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Increases your risk of mortality
So, now you understand the negatives, let’s look at the positive things that you can do to combat them.
10 Minute Daily Home Stretching Routine
This stretching routine is easy to follow and can be done anywhere as it requires minimal space and no equipment (other than your desk chair). You can complete the routine as many times as necessary throughout the day.
Complete each exercise for the allocated time, after you have completed once, repeat the routine.
Benefit: Reduces tension held in your neck from looking at a screen
How to: While seated use your right arm to reach down and hold the side of your chair while you slowly tilt your head to the left. You should feel a stretch in your neck on the right side. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with the left side
Benefit: Releases spinal tension
How to: Sit up tall in your desk chair, cross your right leg over your left. Place your left arm on your outer right thigh and gently twist to your right. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with the other side
Eagle Arm Twist
Benefit: Stretches shoulders and upper back
How to: In a seated position, extend your arms in front of you at shoulder height. Cross your right arm over your left while raising your forearms to a 90º position, twist your palms inwards and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with the other side. (Tip: if you can’t get your palms to touch press the back of your hands together)
Benefit: Releases forearm tension
How to: While seated extend your right arm out in front of you with your palm upwards. With your left hand gently pull your fingers down towards you, hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with your other arm
Seated Hip/ Glute Stretch
Benefit: Stretches glute and hip muscles
How to: Position yourself in the middle of your office chair with your feet flat on the floor. Bring your right ankle to your left knee, gently push down on the right knee, maintain a neutral spine and tilt forward at the hip. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with your other side
Benefit: Stretches hip flexors and leg muscles
How to: Stand in a split stance with your right foot forward and left foot back. Hold onto your chair for support and lean your weight forward to bring your right knee over your toes while maintaining an upright posture. Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat with the other leg
Benefit: Stretches the shoulder and lengthens your upper body
How to: Interlock your fingers with your palms facing outward and arms extended. Keeping your fingers interlocked, raise your arms above your head and slowly push back. Hold for 30 seconds
Benefit: Opens up your chest
How to: Take your arms behind your back and interlock your fingers. Straighten your arms and slightly raise them behind you until you can feel the stretch in your chest. Hold for 30 seconds
If you’re looking for even more ways to reduce your sitting throughout the day follow these additional tips.
- Stand up and walk around for at least one minute every hour
- Take a 30-minute walk in your lunch break or before/after work
- Consider using a standing desk
- Walk around your house/room while taking a phone call
- Additionally, aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week to meet the national guidelines
We hope that you found this post interesting and have taken some great ideas from it, ideas that you can use to improve your own daily home stretching routine.
This article was written by Exercise Physiologist – Alex Magnussen, from our Precision Physio St Marys clinic. If you would like more information, or feel you might benefit from a session Alex or any of the Precision Physio team, you can either come into our clinics, or work with us online.
How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Physio for Help?
We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call any of these numbers to schedule a session:
- Customer Support Centre: 02 8607 4000
- Precision Physio Concord: 02 9736 3950
- Precision Physio St Marys: 02 9623 2220
Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help! Online consultations would be especially effective for guiding you in how to use your foam roller.
To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.