In today’s information age we seem to find ourselves sitting for longer periods of time than ever before. While there are many conveniences and high levels of productivity associated with all the technology, the down side is many Americans have become more sedentary.
Long periods of sitting cause certain muscles to overwork, and in some cases to shorten which can lead to tight muscles and back pain. The good news is there are some basic steps you can take to avoid the stiffness and back pain you feel when sitting for too long.
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP TO AVOID BACK PAIN
The most important step is to make sure that you do not sit for longer than an hour at a time. If you know you can get engrossed in your work, then consider using a timer on your desk — or an app to remind you to stand up and move around.
Once you are standing you’ll be tempted to round the back to stretch it. However, you want to do the opposite.
USE THIS SIMPLE EXERCISE TO AVOID BACK PAIN
1) Take your elbows to your side and squeeze your shoulder blades together attempting to touch your elbows together behind you. Notice I said attempt. You will not be able to touch them.
2) Once you have brought the elbows back, hold them in place and push them down toward your back pockets. Do this 3-5 times.
After you have finished the exercise, move around. Get a drink of water. If you have other safe stretches that you know, do them. Just remember to move every hour!
GO AHEAD AND FIDGET!
Did you know that fidgeting is good for you? Fidgeting used to be frowned upon and considered a bad habit. However, research has shown that fidgeters burn an additional 350 calories per day. If you are fidgeting, you are moving. So, as long as it is appropriate, fidget away!
Even if you get up every hour and like to fidget, sitting can take its toll on the body. I recommend my clients get a massage every two to four weeks from a massage therapist that is knowledgeable in trigger point therapy. Check with your insurance company because it may be covered under your health plan.
If your schedule or budget does not allow a massage frequently, the next best thing is “The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook” by Clair Davies. This book is designed for the patient/client, and it teaches simple step by step techniques for self massage. I recommend this book to all of my clients and use it in my daily fitness practice.
These tips will help you move more, stay healthier, and avoid back pain. However, it’s always a good idea to consult with a medical professional if you are experiencing back pain. Especially if it lasts for more than two weeks.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help!
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