What kind of job do you have? That question isn’t asking about what your resume outlines, but instead, is more concerned with whether you have a job that involves moving or not. Most of you will likely be in the category of the latter, sitting at a desk, where your fingers are the only things burning calories as they plow through an infinite list of emails. And if that is you, pay attention.
The field of sedentary behaviour research was created to investigate the effects of our sitting existence (commuting, TV time, social media scrolling) and what it has found is frightening. Study after study has shown that the less we move, the greater the chance we have of experiencing a poor quality of health and even dying. With many Americans clocking in six to eight hours a day of immobility, this affects a LOT of us.
Thankfully, research has also found that 1-2 minutes of movement every hour can lessen the detrimental effects. So, let’s start with focusing on work and what you can do to shake things up there. Ideally, you want to do most of the following exercises at least twice a day or whenever the craving hits. And don’t feel shy about trying these out with your family at home as well.
Exercise 1 – Don’t Be at Your Desk
This is the easiest one: get UP from your desk and walk. Go get a tea, a glass of water, or just do a lap around the office. And do it more than twice during your day (i.e. more than just at lunch and home time). Or, if your company is progressive, give a standing desk a try, or sit on a large exercise ball for a couple of hours to get your muscles working!
Exercise 2 – Overhead Stretch
This is a great one for bringing some relief to your upper back and shoulders, especially if you type a lot. The easiest way to do it is to stretch both of your arms above your head, clasp your hands together if you’d like, and take in some nice big breaths. You can also lean from one side to the other, while holding for at least 10-15 seconds/side, to wake up the large muscles of your back.
Exercise 3 – Upper Back Stretch
This one flows nicely from the stretch listed above. Pull your arms, with your hands still clasped to create tension, straight out in front of you, arching your mid and upper back slightly. Take a number of slow, deep breaths, and try to expand the space between your spine and your shoulder blades.