Day in day out I see people with pain and stiffness through their neck, shoulders, lower back and hips. Much of this we can relate to long periods of time sedentary at work. Research is starting to show that pain is less related to the posture that you sit or stand in throughout the day and more related to the length of time you remain in that posture. ‘Posture is only a problem if you only have one.’ It’s important to break up the day with movement breaks, which will reduce the risk of musculoskeletal aches and pains developing and give you the opportunity for a mental break too.
The below exercises are general advice, if you currently have pain or these movements cause you pain seek advice from a professional before carrying on. You can contact me directly at email@example.com
1. Shoulder rotations.
Start with your hands on the back of your head. Take them out to the side, rotate them down and place the back of your hand on the small of your back. Repeat approximately 10 times. Don’t be surprised if there’s some grumbly clicks and clunks at first. For an extra challenge – add some small weights to your hands or perform the exercise lying down on your front.
2. Chest and shoulder opener.
In a seated or standing position clasp your hands together behind your back with your palms facing you. From this position simultaneously extend your arms out behind you and push your chest forwards. You should be aware of some stretch through the front part of your shoulders. To involve your neck in the exercise, repeat the movement with your head turned to one side and then the other.
3. Cat and Cow.
Start this exercise on all fours with your back in a neutral or relaxed position. To begin, drop your tummy towards the floor, arch your back and lift your head up. Next, bend your back up by tucking your head and tail bone in, making a curve through your back. Hold this position for a moment, and then repeat. Move through these positions in a slow rhythmic manner for approximately 60 seconds.
4. Hip flexor stretch.
Kneel on the floor and place one foot in a large stride in front of you. Push the hips forwards evenly until you feel the stretch in the front of the hip on your back leg. Hold this position for approximately 30 seconds. This stretch can also be performed in a standing position.
5. Sciatic nerve glide.
From a standing position place one foot on a low stool or bench. Lean your upper body forward whilst also pulling your foot towards you until you feel a stretch. It’s important not to force this stretch, but to recognise when the tension is building and move away from it. Move in and out of this position for approximately 60 seconds.
The above exercises are available as a pdf by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org