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Why is Movement Important for Desk Workers?

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Beyond Ergonomics

Desk workers make the world go round – our economy would quickly dwindle without you! Unfortunately, these underrated heroes of the corporate or professional world work tireless hours in front of a computer, sitting in un-ideal positions and accumulating too many aches & pains – even an accountant wouldn’t be able to keep count!

 

I get it – I’ve been in your shoes (and seats)! Over 3 years, I was working as an engineer, crunching numbers and playing with excel sheets all day before I decided to shift into my life as a movement educator. Now, I am here to unite all you hard workers. I’m here to tell you we need to go above and beyond ergonomics. Sure, setting your desk up ergonomically is important, but the piece most offices are missing these days is movement. 

If the physical ROI of getting out of pain isn’t enough of a reason for you to get moving take a look at other areas physical activity is known to improve:

 

  • Focus
  • Productivity
  • Motivation
  • Memory
  • Mood

 

So who knows, maybe incorporating some movement into your day could land you that next promotion or at least give you some stellar feedback on your next performance review.

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using ‘Content here, content here’, making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for ‘lorem ipsum’ will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected humour and the like).

quotation marks

So who knows, maybe incorporating some movement into your day could land you that next promotion or at least give you some stellar feedback on your next performance review.

Posture Perfect

Sitting at a desk all day can quickly lead to less than optimal posture. Desk workers often suffer from rounded shoulders, chronic neck pain or general stiffness through the upper back. After weeks, months or years in this position day in and day out, it can make it difficult to find a perfect posture again. 

But trust me – there’s a way and no, it does not include walking around everywhere with a book atop your head. Incorporating simple movements throughout your day to build proper mobility and strength in the upper back, chest and shoulders can help to offset the detrimental effects of sitting. We call these movement snacks, they are 1-5 minute movements you can sprinkle in throughout your day. Who doesn’t love a good snack! 

Try adding this movement snack throughout your day: Shoulder CARs

I recommend moving the shoulder joint and blades through their entire range of motion on a daily basis. Get up and attempt 3-5 repetitions on each side, it should only take about 5 minutes, therefore this is definitely doable to sprinkle 2-3 sets throughout your work day. 

It’ll take time, but trust the process – your imperfect posture didn’t happen overnight and perfecting it won’t either. 

girls and a box

A Pain In The Butt

Sitting at a desk all day can be a real pain in the butt, or low back, or oftentimes down the leg. This pain in the butt that possibly travels down each leg is referred to as sciatica. The Mayo Clinic describes sciatica as “pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.” 

When I was working my 9-5 desk job I suffered from a debilitating low back injury that resulted in daily struggles with sciatica pain. Through my own journey, I started to realize I wasn’t the only one. This “pain in the butt” was all too common for desk workers.

I am sure a handful of you reading this right now have experienced this pain yourself, maybe it was “just annoying & nagging” or maybe it was “a red flag”. Maybe you went to see a practitioner and they weren’t able to give you the answer you were looking for. Unfortunately, this is most often the case as sciatica is fairly common yet fairly misunderstood. 

So let’s try to understand this mystery a bit more and learn where it could be coming from or what is potentially causing it:

**I highly suggest you seek professional advice if you are struggling with this type of pain. The root cause of sciatica pain is very unique to the individual. A professional will be able to help you get to this root or advice you if they think it is more serious.**

So you may be thinking “Well is there anything I can try now to prevent or help this pain?” And the answer is yes! Incorporating movements and snacks into your day that will help you build strength through the hips & low back, functional mobility through the pelvic girdle, and stability through the core can work wonders in the realm of sciatica & low back pain relief. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go scouring the web for the “best exercise for sciatica” – I will give you a couple to try! Plus they will be ones you can easily sneak in at the office during your busy work day.

** Please remember that one size does not fit all and to take this slow at the beginning. Start with less time holding and less reps, wait 24-48 hours, check in on how you are feeling then start to increase as your body feels ready! **

Movement Snack #1: Glute Wall Activation Level 1

When I worked too many hours at a desk, I would add this movement snack throughout the day every single day especially if I was sitting too long and noticed that pain starting to creep down my leg.

Movement Snack #2: Hip Hinge

Hip hinge hooray – as some of my private clients would say, as they hip hinge themselves to victory over their low back pain! I honestly believe learning a proper hip hinge can be a game-changer for all who suffer from low back pain – it was for me after my first injury!

a girl

These are all just a few examples to get your workplace heroes started on your movement journey. By no means is this list extensive, but I hope it could act as a checkpoint on your marathon towards health, wellness, and productivity.

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