14 Thu

Exercise for office workers

Exercise for office workers

Written by: Paul Kochoa, PT, DPT, OCS, CKTP, CGFI


Sitting is pretty much killing us.  We sit too much.  But for most of us, our occupations require us to sit and perform tasks at a desk or workstation.  If you’ve been following this website, there are also other posts regarding sitting.  Posture and movement are key components to maintaining mobility and overall health.  Keeping both in mind can help you in the long run to avoid pain and overuse injuries.

Poor sitting posture usually involves a posterior tilted pelvis, slouched back (loss of lumbar curve), rounded upper back with forward shoulders, and a forward head position (chin jutting forward).  This position puts a lot of stress on your back, neck, and shoulders.  One analogy that I use with my patients is ‘stacked blocks’.  If you wanted to stack some blocks on one another and keep them from falling over, you’d make sure that each block is stacked straight and aligned on the one below it.  Any deviation from this straight line can cause an imbalance and you’d have to exert more energy and resources to maintain the structure in the upright position.  The same goes for your back, neck, and shoulders.  The more out of line things are, the more the muscles in your back and neck have to hold you up and then over time, this can create the common spasms and trouble spots in your upper neck and shoulder area.

A few key stretches and exercises can counteract the effects of prolonged sitting. Lifehacker.com has put together a schedule of simple stretches and tips for healthier sitting.  And there’s this handout regarding health and safety in the office by Comcare, an Australian government workplace health organization.

First, get up and get moving.  Getting out of the sitting position is the first step.  Afterwards, you can try the neck and shoulder stretches.  Move the head side to side gently and then turn your head to stretch the neck muscles.  You can also perform the chin tuck, which is a key exercise in any neck program.  From there you can follow through with the shoulder exercises and eye exercises.  The bottom line is to get out of the sustained sitting position.

For further information, or if you’re having pain with any of the movements and exercises in the handout, consult your local physiotherapist for a full evaluation, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Also, if you have four minutes to spare, you can do some desk yoga.

Image courtesy of graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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