The average Brit spends 9 hours each day sitting
That's a big problem.
9 hours each day sat down. Over a third of our day; it's such a big problem that when the government last changed their exercise guidelines they felt compelled to add in a line saying that we should minimise the time we spend sitting. It's no wonder we're all suffering from 'deskitis'.
That's the term I give to the postures, pains and movement problems I see daily in clients who spend most of their day at work sat down.
Ideally, we should have a naturally S-shaped spine which is termed 'neutral spine', with a small inwards curve in the lower (lumbar region) and another outwards curve in the upper (thoracic region). This helps to spread load evenly between the discs of the spine, makes movement easier and prevents wear and tear.
Unfortunately, sitting can cause tightness in some muscles and weakness in others and this leads the the spine being pulled out of this neutral alignment. Common problems include:
• Tightness in the chest and shoulder area, causing the upper spine to 'slump' forwards. The muscles of the upper back become stretched and weak and we can get neck pain and pain all the way down the spine as a result.
• An excessive forwards tilt of the pelvis, caused by tightening of the muscles at the front of your hips; the hip flexors, and those of the lower back. At the same time, your abdominal and bum muscles become stretched and weakened and instance of lower back pain increase.
What can you do?
The first thing to do is move. As often as you can, rise from your desk and wander around. This will help loosen the muscles and restore the balance of tightness and length.
If possible, work standing up when you can. Your postural muscles have to activate here to hold you upright.
You can also perform certain exercises that target the muscles, loosening the tight ones and strengthening those that have become weak.
Below is a link to a free online programme I designed recently for the lovely people at the Bank of Ireland. It's designed to help you move better but it also has exercise that'll help you tone and shape and improve sports performance too.
There are varying levels in the programme so you can pick one that's right for you.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: if you have any medical conditions or injuries, aches or pains and have not discussed becoming more physically active with a GP or physio, please do so before starting this or any exercise routine and follow their guidance as to what is safe and suitable for you. If you have any questions or queries about any of these exercises, please do get in touch and I'll be happy to help.
Click on the link for the programme below, it's completely free to sign up and you can download the exercise videos to use any time you wish:
Yours in balance,