As discussed in the previous blog HERE, sitting is referred to as the new smoking and it can have a negative impact on your health if you do it for prolonged periods of time. It increases pressure on your spinal discs, and as a result, your pelvic muscles tighten.
When you stand up after sitting for a long time, your body is pulled forward and off balance, which can create stress on your muscles and bones. Plus, if you are overweight, it can push your spine out of neutral alignment, and cause a lot of strain on your lower back. This is because those muscles then try to correct the imbalance. Read more about the importance of proper posture when sitting.
So, in addition to ensuring you get up from sitting at least once every hour, you also need to incorporate stretching, which has been proven to have substantial injury reduction benefits:
- Decreased risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) – sprains and strains of the lower back, shoulders, and knees
- Decreased risk of cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) – such as rotator cuff injuries, tendonitis, tennis elbow, and De Quervain syndrome (Blackberry thumb / texters thumb)
- Less workplace stress
- Increased productivity
Stretching throughout the day will also:
- Help keep a proper blood flow and nutrient supply to your working tissues and muscles
- Increase the temperature of your soft tissue
- Allow for greater elasticity of your tissues
- Help prevent discomfort and fatique
- Boost your energy levels
- Increase your flexibility
- Help stimulate the formation of synovial fluid in your joints Lubricant for bones and cartilage) to make them easier to move (greater range of motion), which also helps reduce stiffness, pain, and joint degeneration
- Reduce your risk of developing osteoarthritis
- Decrease tightness and resistance in your muscles and tendons
- Improve your muscular balance and posture
- Improve your muscle coordination
The areas you want to focus on include the neck, shoulders, mid and low back, hips, elbows and forearms, and wrists, along with exercises for the entire body that help reverse the daily stresses of workplace sitting.
Not sure what types of stretches you should be doing? Here is a great reference that you may want to print and keep handy at your desk:
Proactive prevention is always better than reactive treatment. It is a much better alternative to medication, lost work days, or surgery. Encourage stretching in your workplace to promote a healthy and safe team culture!