For some of us work means swinging around a pole while for others it means sitting and typing at a desk. While I wish my work was in the studio alone, I do have those times where I am sitting at a desk. While I have the luxury of being able to walk around the room when others don’t, I do feel the aches and pains of a sitting down job, as opposed to having my other ‘on your feet’ job.
It can be pretty bad for your body to spend too long sitting down in one position – our body gets used to not moving about. Usually you’ll catch yourself sitting with bad posture, and by the very nature of desk-based work you won’t move your back and spine very much. Your back can get and stay very sore and stiff and you can really do some damage to yourself. By recognising that this might apply to you, you can do something about it and help your body now.
In everyday life our posture is generally quite bad. Our shoulders are forward and our back is slumped. This applies heavily to those sitting down for most of the day. While it is unrealistic to expect you to sit up with a straight back for most of the day, you can adjust yourself. Every time you realise that your posture is bad, roll your shoulders back and straighten up your back and spine. You’ll soon forget this straight posture and go back to how you usually sit, but even if you remember this 5 times a day and straighten up you will really help yourself by just moving your spine a little.
If you can, try and sit further back in your chair so that you can rest on the back of your chair and straighten your spine. That said, make sure that this does not force you to lean forward when you type. Move your chair closer to your desk if needs be. Your health really does need to come above your work.
The less you move about, the stiffer your body gets. One of the main problems with sitting down is how little you actually get to move about. Try and walk about as often as you can – this can be harder than it seems. If there’s any part of your job that you can do standing up rather than sitting, try standing. Simple things like always taking the stairs rather than the lift will help.
There are many different stretches that you can do while you work which are very subtle yet effective.
Head and Neck:
Stretch 1: Take your head over to the side towards one shoulder. You should feel the stretch in your neck. Hold this for about 10 secs and repeat on the other side. Try and do this 3 times through. This will help you stretch those neck and shoulder muscles and reduce pain from built up tension.
Stretch 2: Look to your right as far as you can. Hold for 10 secs. Repeat looking to the left and repeat 3 times altogether. This will really help to increase your flexibility in your neck, shoulders and upper back.
Stretch 3: Roll your head in a circle very slowly clockwise and then anticlockwise. This is increase flexibility and help to reduce any built up tension.
Stretch 1: Roll both shoulders backwards very slowly. Do this about 5 times and repeat rolling your shoulders forward. Repeat three times through. This will help to release tension built up in your shoulders and help with your back and shoulder flexibility.
Stretch 1: Roll your wrists clockwise in a circle 5 times and then repeat rolling then in an anti clockwise direction. Wiggle your fingers as you do this. This will help to keep movement in your wrists which is very important when it comes to pole dancing.
All of these back stretches will help increase flexibility as well as keeping movement in your back.
Stretch 1: Place your hands on the opposite shoulder. Take your elbows up so that they are level with your mouth. Lower your head and roll your shoulders forward. You should feel a stretch in your upper back. Hold this for about 10 secs and repeat as needed throughout the day.
Stretch 2: Cross your arms in front of your chest. Slowly swing your arms from one side of your body to the other. Take the top half of your body with you. You should feel a good rotational movement in your spine.
Stretch 3: As you sit on your chair turn your head as far as you can to look behind you, rotating your upper and mid-back as you go. You can keep your hands on the arms of the chair or back of the chair to help you feel a stretch through your back. Hold for 10 secs. Repeat looking over the other shoulder and repeat throughout the day as you need.
For A Bit Of Fun…
I like to work as many parts of my body as I can when I’m having to sit down at work. The one I enjoy the most is a good bum squeeze.
Workout 1: Squeeze your bum very slowly and then hold the squeeze for about 10 secs and release.
Workout 2: Quickly squeeze your bum repeatedly for about 1 min. I often repeat this move over and over again almost without realising and as soon as I stop I can feel my thighs and bum tingling.
Other Little Tips
There are many things that you can do while working in a office to really help your body:
- Drink lots of water. You will keep your body hydrated and this will help to reduce any headaches. The more you drink, the more often you will need to go to the toilet, when means more walking around for you!
- When you walk around try and swing your arms about and have a little stretch.
- Make sure you give your eyes, wrists and body a break from the computer every now and again.
- Try and keep movement in every part of your body. Even scrunching your toes will help with your movement.
It is really important to look after the body. The more you look after your body now, the better it will still be in years to come.