Article: How to Offset the Negative Effects of a Desk Job
If you are regularly sitting due to your work, this post will be priceless for you. Whether you are regularly in a car, or always hunched over a desk, eventually you will start to feel the negative effects of this – probably sooner rather than later.
Humans are built to move, and constant immobility is the root cause of countless injuries and leads to poor posture, as well as poor hip and upper back mobility.
Firstly, we will explain the difference between mobility, and flexibility. In Lehman terms, flexibility refers to your passive total range of motion. Whereas mobility refers to the total range of motion which you have control over, and thus requires a combination of both strength, and flexibility. Both are necessary and important, however due to the added control element, we tend to favour and prioritise mobility.
We have come up with a number of strategies our clients use to mitigate the effects of immobility throughout the day.
Strategy 1. GET MOVING
This is the most important, and most simple one. Movement is medicine and moving is the best way to shake off stiffness. This can be as simple as going for a walk around your block every couple of hours. We recommend 3 walks per day where possible – the morning, lunchtime, and afterwork. (Obviously if you are training at one of these times, then there is no need to also walk). These walks can be as little as 10-15 minutes and is a great start to getting moving regularly.
The next step now, is to add a mobility/flexibility routine into your day. Again, this doesn’t have to be complicated, it could involve a simple yoga flow to start your day. We recommend that these flows, or mobility routines, focus on the hips and the Thoracic spine.
Strategy 2 – Start Training
Get stronger. This may seem counterintuitive to some, however many people who suffer back pains, neck pains, and stiffness in certain joints, are simply – weak. We mentioned earlier that mobility had a strong strength element to it. Strength training, if performed properly, is amazing for your posture, your core strength, and your body in general. There is also the added benefit of some exercises, such as the squat, improving hip mobility as well as strength, and killing two birds with one stone as it were.
Strategy 3 – Soft Tissue manipulation
Using a roller or a massage gun on sore or tight muscles can help improve recovery, reduce stiffness, and increase range of motion. We have found that a combination of soft tissue manipulation, combined with stretching and mobility work, has the most benefit. By releasing and loosening the muscles, you allow potential for greater ranges of motion, and this is where you need to take advantage of this by stretching and using dynamic movements for maximum effect.
Bringing it all together.
As always, the best remedy here is to combine all of the above into a daily, or weekly routine. We recommend trying to have a 10-15-minute movement-based mobility session every day, which will start with 5 or so minutes of rolling and soft tissue release, followed by 10 minutes of movement and mobility. Movements such as the cat-cow for the spine, and the world’s greatest stretch, and downward dogs are fantastic here. Again, although static stretching will also help, we recommend more dynamic forms of movement such as the exercises mentioned above. You can follow this movement session with a half hour walk, or jog perhaps. If you can also fit a workout into the day, then you will be onto a winning formula. Here are some examples below:
Morning- Mobility + foam rolling session followed by 30 minute walk
Lunch – Gym session
Evening – 45 minute walk
Example Day 2
Morning – Gym training session, including a mobility warm up.
Afternoon – 30 minute walk
Evening – Recovery Yoga/Meditation