Statistics tell us that as many as 24 million people in the United States have occupations that require them to sit in front of a computer for hours at a time every day. Although it would seem like a pretty benign way for your body to spend the majority of the time, it can lead to chronic pain. Sitting slouched over a computer can lead to bad posture and the weakening of key core muscles. The good news is that you can undo the damage from computer slouching by doing just four simple exercises daily. If you practice these movements, they will not only decrease chronic pain; they can increase your range of motion and joint flexibility.
The “Computer Slouch” Exercises
These activities require only about 15 minutes daily and if you add them to your routine, they can do a whole lot to prevent injury, reduce pain, and improve your posture. Obviously, however, if you are experiencing acute pain or have an underlying condition, it is always best to consult a physician before starting any new exercise program.
Even those with the best intentions can find themselves hunched over a keyboard. Slouching puts a tremendous amount of stress on your mid-spine area. The spine rotation works by making your body mimic natural movements that your spine performs, first bending to the side, then back and rotating. When you practice these movements your body becomes “used” to them and they are no longer painful.
The 3D T-spin rotation: when standing, place your right foot behind your left about a foot’s width apart. Raise your right arm straight into the air and have your left arm swing back as if it is shaking someone’s hand behind you. At the same time, drop both of your arms while holding a straight position and sway toward your right foot, torso, and back. Then, go back to the starting position and hold it there for two seconds. Once you have done ten rounds, switch to the other side and then repeat the motion ten times.
The Spine Floss
This is an excellent exercise to open up your torso by doing the exact opposite of a slouching move. Instead of rotating, this motion involves you “flossing” by stretching to rescue nerve irritation from slouching and to enhance your range of motion. Stand with your arms out in front of your body at about the same height as your chest. Begin with palms out and thumbs down. Bend at the knees and have your shoulders stretch forward to form a C with your body. From there, bring your arms back and straighten your knees with your palms now facing up and hold them there for two seconds.
Split Stance Hip Reach
Most people throw their back out doing mundane things like bending down to pick something up. The key to protecting your back when doing ordinary things is mobilizing the sciatic nerve and hamstrings that run from your hamstrings and hips to your lower back. Stagger your feet by putting the left a few inches in front of the right, keeping the weight distributed on the right. Bring your hands down in a V-shape, keeping them pointed in a triangle shape. Keep the left leg straight but bend your right one slightly. Now, slowly dip down and touch the ground at 11, 12, and 1 o’clock, going back and forth slowly ten times. Switch legs and do the same repetitive movements.
Big Toe Extension
The Big Toe Extension exercise was created to strengthen your foot and calf muscles. First, line your big toe up against the wall so that it points up. In a split stance, lock your knees and then gently rock back and forth ten times making the lunge last about two seconds each time. Switch legs and do the other side.
Although there would appear to be few physical threats to your body from sitting behind a desk, a sedentary lifestyle can be hazardous to your health and can weaken your core musculature. The good news is these four exercises can help to strengthen your core, improve your posture, and can reduce chronic pain. Put them into your daily routine and incorporate massage regularly to keep your muscles flexible, agile and to reduce the risk of injury. Schedule your massage therapy appointment today!