Is the sitting position ailing you? Take a workstation break with these stretches.

ATI Physical Therapy's 2013 New Year, New You Program

Authored by Jeff Fellure, MS, CSCS, PES, CEIS, wellness coordinator, ATI Worksite Solutions

You might be surprised to learn that 50-70% of people spend six or more hours sitting each day.  Coupled with that is the fact that 20-35% of people spend four or more hours a day watching television.  That is pretty startling data, since research shows that the rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity occur two to three times more in people who sit a lot.

Part of the problem associated with sitting is that it appears to alter circulation of lipase, an enzyme that helps absorb fat.  Simply standing up as opposed to sitting engages muscles and helps your body process fat and cholesterol in a positive way, as well as increases metabolic rate during the day because of the increased muscle activity required for standing.

Here are some other negative factors about excessive sitting:

  • Weight gain, orthopedic problems and chronic disease due to lack of movement
  • Flexion of the spine, which leads to a forward head, rounded shoulders, rounded upper back and muscles that are long and weak
  • Flexion of the pelvis and hips, which leads to hip flexors and trunk muscles that are short and weak.

Exercises to Reduce Pain from Sitting

Here are four exercises that you can easily do at your desk throughout the day to offset the effects of the sitting position. Peform each exercise as described through a pain free range of motion for 6-10 reps. Hold each position for 3-5 seconds before moving on to the next rep. Discontinue any exercise that causes you any pain. If you do experience pain, please contact us for a complimentary injury screening.

Shoulder Blade Squeeze exerciseShoulder Blade Squeeze

  • Assume a tall position
  • Pull your shoulder blades back together, bringing your hands back behind the body
  • Hold and perform the desired number of reps

 

 

 

Exercise to relieve back pain - Punch AcrossPunch Across

  • Stand tall with knees bent, butt pushed back and your hands at shoulder height
  • Punch across your body as you maintain your foot position
  • Hold and perform the desired number of reps

 

 

Demonstration of overhead press exercise to relieve back pain.Overhead Press

  • Stand tall with knees bent, butt pushed back and your hands at shoulder height
  • Punch up and overhead as you maintain your foot position
  • Hold and perform the desired number of reps

 

 

 

 Demonstration of step and reach exercise to reduce painStep and Reach

  • Stand tall with knees bent and your arms at your side
  • Take a step back and plant your heel on the ground as your reach toward the ceiling with arms. Focus on getting taller as you reach to the ceiling
  • Hold and perform the desired number of reps.

 

 

Source: National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys

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