Sitting is the New Smoking: Desk Ergonomics for the Chronic Sitter
By Karen Belfall R. Kin., B.Sc. (Hons.) Kin., FLXME Stretch Therapist
Sitting for Hours on End? Try these Stretches!
We all know that prolonged sitting and a sedentary lifestyle are bad for us. Unfortunately, for most of us, the jobs we do require us to spend many hours a day in front of the computer. When a posture, like sitting, is sustained for long periods of time, the muscles, tendons and ligaments can become fatigued, tight and painful. There are, however, easy steps you can take (without changing your office furniture!) to ease the impacts of desk work on the body.
In this blog, we provide:
1) tips to reduce strain on your body while sitting at your desk
2) a video showing a 2-minute stretch routine that you can do at your desk
3) examples of stretches you may receive at FLXME to combat ‘tech neck’ and other issues resulting from too much sitting
Tips to Reducing Strain on your Body while Sitting at your Desk
Follow these tips to improve your work station and working posture. We challenge you to pick 3 to implement right now!
- Keep your ankles, knees, hips and elbows at about 90 degrees (‘90 degree rule’)
- Keep your shoulders relaxed and down and your upper arms by your side, typing just below elbow height
- Keep your feet flat on floor or on a foot rest
- Feel even pressure on the back of both thighs
- Ensure the curve in your low back is supported
- Keep work (think keyboard) no further than a forearm distance away, and directly in front of you
- The top third of your screen should be at eye level
- If using a laptop, use an external monitor or place the laptop on a riser. In both scenarios, it’s best to use an external keyboard and mouse
Once your workstation is set up, don’t forget to take 60-second microbreaks every 30 minutes. Stand up, hydrate, vary work tasks, take a vision break, change positions, and stretch.
Our bodies are meant to be in motion. If we hold a posture for too long, the muscles supporting it become fatigued and tight. That is why it is so important to stretch and change your posture
frequently throughout the day.
Try these simple stretches at your desk a few times during the day. Remember to move within your own pain-free range of motion and do not hold your breath. Remember to breathe!
2-Minute Stretch Routine you can do at your Desk
FLXME Stretches to Combat ‘tech neck’ and other issues
Resulting from too much Sitting
Sometimes all you need is a really good stretch! Below are some stretches that help your body recover from chronic sitting. Book a free 25-Minute Introductory Stretch with FLXME today to try some of these amazing stretches! These stretches are great for reducing tightness and alleviating pain, resulting from computer work.
If you carry stress in your shoulders and neck, this trapezius stretch is great for you.
These neck muscles can become tight if your arm rests are too high, if your keyboard is above your elbows, or if your shoulders creep up towards the ears due to stress.
Do you ever hold the phone to your ear with your shoulder? If so, use a headset or speaker phone to protect your neck from muscle strain.
—————-Hip Flexor STRETCH—————-
When we sit, our hip flexors remain in a contracted position for long periods of time. In addition, if your low back is unsupported, you may perch forward in your chair to avoid slouching. Perching can strain the hip flexors, causing tightness and stiffness in the hips.
This stretch elongates the hip flexors and releases tension in the hips. Your hips will feel looser and you’ll move with more
ease after this stretch.
If you sit on your butt all day, it’s bound to be tight! In addition, a chair that is too tall or too short can put extra pressure on the glutes and piriformis. Over time, a chair at the wrong height can cause discomfort and pain.
A tight piriformis muscle (a muscle deep in the glutes) can cause the sciatic nerve to become pinched, causing pain in the low back, the buttocks, and even down the back of the leg.
By moving the leg into different positions, your FLXME Stretch Therapist can target different muscle areas to loosen up those tight muscles and the hips.
Karen Belfall R. Kin., B.Sc. (Hons.) Kin.
Karen is a Registered Kinesiologist and Stretch Therapist at FLXME. She brings a decade of experience in workplace wellness, fitness, physical rehabilitation, and ergonomics to the stretch table. Karen is passionate about injury prevention and helping clients achieve a healthy and safe return to work, life, and play!