SITTING AT A DESK, or even staring at a smartphone all day, can really take a toll on your body. In addition to the dangers of sitting for more than 4 hours a day, we also tend to build up aches and pains from endlessly hunching over a computer.
"Extended periods of sitting causes tonic muscles to become obstructed," explains personal trainer John Jr. Molina. "These mucles will continually decrease in size as well as strength."
We know you can't just up and quit your office job, so what CAN you do to reverse the damage? The key is to stretch and foam roll often, which will help to keep body soreness and chronic issues at bay. Molina has put together the moves below that will help alleviate common issues that come up from getting your work on at a computer. Feel free to do some of them at your desk and others at home (unless you wanna roll around on your office floor--Hey, you do you).
1. Foam Roller Fix
This move helps with upper back mobility and corrects rounded shoulders.
Your foam roller is going to be your bestie if you've got tension from sitting all day. It's like having your own personal masseuse. If you don't have a foam roller, you can get one for less than 20 bucks on Amazon.
Lay on top of the foam roller so that it runs right below your shoulder blades. Bend your knees, keep your feet firmly on the ground and put your hands behind your head.
While lifting your hips off the floor, roll about an inch upward so the foam roller travels toward your neck, then let your hips come to the floor. Repeat this motion, inch-by-inch until the foam roller is just a couple inches away from your neck.
Slowly repeat the process, moving downward this time until the foam roller is back in your starting position, just below shoulder blades. Do this exercise 3 times.
2. Wrist Loosener
This move relieves tension in your wrists and forearms from using a keyboard and mouse.
Either standing in front of a table or on your hands and knees on the floor, place both palms on a flat surface (i.e. table or floor). Reverse your hands so that your thumbs face the outside and your pinkies face the inside, making sure that your palms are fully in contact with the surface.
Slowly spread and close your fingers, while breathing deeply, then bend your arms so that your elbows move toward your body, which will intensify the stretch. Continue to spread/close your fingers. Hold for about 10 breaths or 30 seconds.
3. Neck Rotation
This move relaxes the muscles in your neck that get stiff (a big culprit of headaches) from working at a computer.
Sit or stand with good posture, shoulders down and back, neck in a neutral position. Slowly turn your head to the left, giving your neck a good stretch without overdoing it. Inhale and exhale deeply. Return your head to the neutral position and repeat the stretch on your right side. Come back to your starting position.
Slowly and gently tilt your head backward to about a 45 degree angle and inhale/exhale deeply. Come back to starting position and repeat, this time bending the head forward. Return to your starting position.
4. Chest Expander
This move opens up the chest, a part of the body that gets tight from the forward motion of staring at your phone or typing, and improves posture.
Holding a thin towel or scarf in between your hands, reach your arms above your head, palms facing forward. Keep your shoulders away from your neck and pull the towel/scarf apart as tight as you can. If your ribs start to stick out, move your hands even further back to open up the chest. Breathe deeply for about 30 seconds.