Have you been working on your posture? Going to Pilates, sitting up tall, shoulders back, aware of forward ‘chicken head’ … you feel like you have perfected your posture prowess powerfully, but you still experience the havoc desk jockey riding has on your body? You are not alone.
The vital missing ingredient in seated work is obviously it’s opposite, standing, but more importantly MOVING. Our bodies were designed and constructed to be a moving machine. We simply were not designed to sit. We must take advantage of using gravity as much as possible to achieve optimal physical functioning and revv up our metabolism. Here are some creative ideas to do just that during your seated working hours. First let’s look at what happens physiologically when our bodies remain sedentary for too long.
When we sit for extended periods of time our body adapts to stillness causing circulation and metabolism slow down. The ever flowing river of fluid in our connective tissue gets stuck and we become stiff, achy and sore. Everything from our digestion slowing to proper oxygenation of blood cells for optimal brain function and hormonal homeostasis is impeded by extended periods of sitting. We have all heard these facts, and possibly thought by having good seated posture alone we could stave off these unwanted side effects, but the truth of the matter is we need both good posture and intermittent movement.
Here’s 3 simple tips to help support your body through the often inevitable reality of having to sit for a living.
30 minute Strategy
It is recommended to move a minimum of 10 minutes every hour. You can choose to do this in one go or for the most EFFECTIVE benefits divide your rise and try to move 5 minutes every thirty minutes. There are some great apps/tools out there to help remind you when to get up such as Stand Up which you can customize for your specific needs or simply set the regular alarm on your phone. Another option is to use a pomodoro timer which also duals to help with task management. Once you have your timer system set follow these easy 5 min. body moving ideas that also happen to double as excellent posture exercises (hooray!) :
Water Bottle Rolling
Here’s a fabulous double whammy exercise that stimulates your fascia (the weblike matrix of fluid filled connective tissue that covers every muscle, organ, bone, and joint in your body) as well as keeps you hydrated. Simply use your BPA free plastic or glass water bottle as a mini rolling pin to roll over your thighs, chest muscles, hips, calves, feet and bum. This will help to keep your fascia gliding free while unlocking habitual daily patterns that cause our tissues to get stuck. Focus on a certain area for 30 sec or so then take a nice big sip of H20. Roll, sip, repeat.
This incredible technique of tapping certain acupressure points on the body helps to reduce chronic stress, muscular tension and joint pain while decreasing fatigue and tension headaches. It’s been coined ‘acupuncture without needles’ and has been proven to boost energy levels. Head here to Tapping 101 - to learn the simple sequence. This is a good one to repeat a few times during the day - who doesn’t need an extra zap of energy mid morning and afternoon!
These little stretchy numbers are my all time favorite performance picks for versatility, portability and effectiveness. They are fantastic for stretching while you strengthen all your muscles groups. Leave one in your desk drawer and grab it for multiple 5 minute mover sessions. Use it with one end in each hand for overhead shoulder stretches, hamstring stretches, chest openers and targeted toning for your arms - here’s a quick 5 min arm toning workout you can do anywhere right from your phone.
There you have it! Some easy to follow ideas to get your body moving frequently and consistently throughout your seated endeavours. The best way to motivate yourself to start a new regime is to make it a challenge. Plan your breaks, set goals, grab a work buddy to join, and reward yourself once completed. You will truly be amazed how much better you will FEEL, smoother you will MOVE and HAPPIER your joints will be to be released and set free!