Health Guide for Office Workers
This information guide from Physiostation is designed to help reduce aches and pains as a result of sitting based jobs, such as in an office or using a computer.
Does your job involve long hours spent at your desk?
Staying healthy at work is actually much easier than you might think!
Moving more throughout the day can help keep your weight at a healthy level and limit your chances of developing a number of serious illnesses. Current UK exercise guidelines recommend adults aged 19-64 take at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity each week (aiming to be active every day). This means increasing your heart rate, but not being so short of breath that you can’t talk. It’s OK to be active in 10 minute bouts if you don’t have time for structured exercise sessions! Simply walking to work or taking the stairs rather than the lift are simple ways to increase your activity levels.
There is no one single ‘good posture’ when sitting at a desk for long periods. Prolonged periods of time in any position can be stressful for the body.
Regular movement can help ease back problems and other aches and pains. Nothing beats getting away from your desk for a walk, but when that’s not possible mobilise your spine and reduce feelings of stiffness in your back with these simple stretches:
Sit on the edge of a chair, and open your legs and allow them to relax outwards. Keep your body and spine tall, lift the crown of your head towards the ceiling, and arch your lower back slightly. Turn your arms outwards so your palms are facing forwards, and draw your shoulder blades down and towards the midline. Make a gentle double chin with your head at the same time. Breathe deeply throughout. You will feel a stretch across your chest and front, as well as muscles working in your back, all helping to improve your posture.
Hold this position for 1 minute
Support your neck by placing your hands Interlocked behind your neck. Rounds you lower back slightly, to focus the movement to the upper back, and slowly bend backwards.
Repeat 2 times holding for 10 seconds
Place your hands behind your neck, and bring your elbows together. Now “draw” a figure of eight with your elbows (which will also move your back). This excellent mobility exercise will improve the mobility in your spine, act as a useful warm up before sport, and get you more flexible. Do not be alarmed if you hear a few pops and clicks coming from the spine.
Repeat 4 times
Neck Side Stretch
Ensuring your nose is pointing forwards, bend your neck as if you were taking your left ear towards your left shoulder, using your hand to gently apply overpressure. Hold on to a chair to make the stretch stronger. You should feel the stretch to your neck on the same side you are holding on to the chair. Repeat to the right. This exercise will help improve mobility to your neck.
Hold for 10 seconds and repeat twice on both sides
Standing with good posture, and your arms by your side, move your shoulders backwards, up, forwards and down in a circular movement. Your arms remain by your side.
Start with small movements and gradually increase as able. Try rolling both directions.
Repeat 15-20 times a few times each day.
Place your hands together, as if you were praying, and push towards each other. Hold the pressure, and then relax.
Repeat 4 times
As with any exercise, if you begin feeling more pain when doing these, we would recommend a review of your problems with your GP or Chartered Physiotherapist.
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Images provided courtesy of RehabMyPatient