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The Perfect 10 Minute Desk Routine!

We are all guilty of it. SITTING for way too long. Technology is such a beautiful thing and has made all our lives easier, but maybe things have become too easy. We were designed to move, run, jump, climb, walk, stand, squat. Sitting in a big comfy chair in front of a monitor isn't what our bodies were designed to do. But this is the world we live in. The question now is, can we do anything to combat the challenges and issues that a desk job presents?

To answer that, we have to first understand what is going on and the effect that sitting has on our bodies. In order for our spine to be able to absorb stress and gravity it needs to be vertically stacked. Our spine has curves for a reason. When we lose those curves and our spines twist, and flatten out, we have a diminished ability to accept load and tend to begin overworking some muscles, while underworking others. Long periods of sitting generally leads to tight hip flexors, weak glutes and hamstrings, tight chest, weak back, rounded shoulders, forward head and tightness in the neck and shoulders. And those are just the effects that we can visibly see and feel. These postural adaptations often lead to chronic headaches and jaw pain, difficulties breathing, digestive problems, visual changes, fatigue and a multitude of other sympathetic responses.

So…basically sitting has a massive negative impact on our bodies. Now, what can we do about that? Technology isn't going away. We can't up and quit our jobs that require sitting at a computer (if you can, this is a good option). Your boss gets mad if you’re not working and you’re afraid if you spend all this time getting up and exercising, your productivity will decline.

The AWESOME news is there are plenty of studies to prove that regular scheduled activity in the workplace boosts productivity and morale, while also benefiting our overall health. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which in turn makes you more alert and ready for the next big task. Briston University conducted a study on 200 employees at three organizations. The employees evaluated themselves on a day with exercise and a day without. The results were incredible. On workout days, participants’ scores were 21% higher for concentration on work, 22% higher for finishing their work on time, 25% higher for working without unscheduled breaks, and an incredible 41% for feeling motivated to work. Another survey of 683 workers found that fitness “significantly impact[s] employee work performance.” A study of six dental offices showed that 30 minutes of exercise increased self-rated productivity.

At Cultivate Physical Therapy & Motion Lab, we have created the perfect 10-minute posture routine to help reverse the seated position effects, improve blood flow and increase mobility and get you feeling better.

1. Standing Chin Tucks-Perform 10 times

Standing Chin Tuck
Start With Head Relaxed

Standing Chin Tuck
Pull Head Straight back

2. Standing Back Extension-Perform 10 times

Back Extension
Place Hands on Small of Back & Stand Tall

Back Extension
Lean Back to the Point of a Stretch

3. Arm Circles- 40 times forward, 40 times backward

Forward arm circle
Forward Shoulder Circles-Palms Facing Down, Thumbs Out

shoulder circles
Backward Shoulder Circles- Palms Facing Up

4. Shoulder Blade Retraction- 20 times

Scap retraction
Fingers on Temples, Bring Elbows to Center

Scapular retraction
Squeeze Shoulder Blades Back to the Middle

5. Doorway Squat with Breathing- 2 times for 1 minute each

deep squat
Keep Toes Straight, Relax Neck, Round Back, Take Deep Breaths

6. Hip Flexor Stretch- 2 times for 1 minute each side

Place One Foot on Chair, Keep Back Straight

Drop Down Until a Strong Stretch is Felt in Front of Hip

7. Nerve Floss 1- 10 times

Start with Hands In Center, Reach Straight up as high as you can

Bend wrist back and Let arms down to the side

Lower Arms Down Feeling a Strong Stretch in the Wrists and Arms

8. Nerve Floss 2- 10 times

Start with hands in center and reach straight forward

Once fully straight extend wrists backward

Reach back, keeping wrists bent and squeeze shoulder blades together

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