Sitting slouched at your desk for long hours at a stretch is doing a number on your back. Here are some quick ways to ease the strain. By Pooja Paryani
1. Stand up
This one may sound really simple, but it has to be said. You’ve been sitting at your desk for hours at a stretch and your back and shoulder muscles are tense. Time to get up and stand tall. Stand with your legs should-width apart. Pretend as if someone is pulling you up by your hair. Don’t bend your head, don’t curve your spine, and look straight ahead. Then walk around your office for a bit holding that posture. You should ideally be getting up every 30 minutes to reset your posture.
2. Take the stairs
This is one you’ve heard before. A lot of fitness and health experts ask you to ditch the lift and take the stairs. But it’s not just a great health and weight loss tip, it’s also very good for strengthening your back. While climbing up, remember to look straight head, keep your shoulders back and your back erect. Don’t bend at any point as that will lead to an aching back. Some movement after a day spent cooped up in the office is always necessary. If you have knee issues, avoid walking down the stairs as that puts a strain on your knees.
3. Sit on an exercise or stability ball
It’s always important to move around during the day and give your body with different postures. Have a gym in the office? Borrow their exercise ball, also known as a Swiss ball, and sit on that for a while. It forces you to sit straight to maintain your balance and also works out your core abdominal muscles in the bargain. That’s what we call a win-win.
4. Do simple stretching exercises at your desk
Who says exercises can only be done in the gym? There are a few simple ones that you can even at your desk that will help ease the stiffness in your back and neck. Do some simple stretches first to loosen up the muscles. Move your head to the left and hold for a few seconds; then move to the right, and hold. Do this three times. Then alternate between up and down. Even simple movements help improve blood circulation and ease out the kinks in tired muscles. For more desk exercises read ‘5 quick desk exercises to ease the kinks’.
5. Have good posture while driving
Driving can be a stressful activity and you’re often not paying attention to how your body is positioned. But that is a mistake. Posture is especially important when under stress. If you have back issues, use back support to maintain the curve of your back. Don’t sit at a distance from the steering wheel; move closer so that you don’t bend your spine. The leg distance should be enough so that you’re comfortable reaching the pedals. Ensure your knees are at the same level or slightly higher than your hips so as to get proper support on the lower back.
Image courtesy: Humza Butt/Lushlifegarden.com (Flickr)