The millions of Americans who suffer with back and neck pain are unable to identify a specific incident as the root of the problem, but one of the most common causes of back and neck problems is simply being too sedentary.
A little activity can go a long way and keep these sedentary lifestyle ailments away.
Effects of a Sedentary Lifestyle
Sedentary jobs that require long periods of sitting at a desk or computer take their toll on the body. Staying in the same position for too long can lead to constant muscle tension, joint strains, permanent muscle shortening, decreased circulation and other damaging conditions that contribute to back and neck pain.
The good thing, though, is that those of us who make a living glued to our office chairs for hours on end are not destined for bad backs and necks. We can counteract the negative effects by breaking up our days with brief, frequent periods of activity.
The following 5-minute series of stretches two times a day, coupled with short walks around the office every hour, is just what you need to break the monotony and keep your joints pain free. If you’re experiencing severe or persistent pain, please consult your doctor.
Keep good postural position and breathe as you do each of these movements in your office:
- Reaching behind your back, clasp your fingers together with your palms facing in. Slowly raise and straighten your arms. Hold and then release after a few seconds, and repeat 3-4 times.
- Raise your elbows while keeping your hips stationary. Twist your upper body at your waist to the right. Hold for several seconds and repeat on your left side. Repeat the stretch on each side 3-4 times.
- Place your fingers behind your head. Squeeze your shoulder blades together until you feel tension through your upper back, and slowly release. Repeat 3-4 times.
- Stretch your right arm across your upper body and pull your right elbow toward your left shoulder. Hold for several seconds and switch sides. Repeat 3-4 times.
- Clasp both of your hands together above your head. While stretching your hands upward, slowly lean to the right side and then to the left, being careful not to arch your back. Keep your knees slightly bent. Repeat 3-4 times.
- Lean against a support with your left leg forward and your right leg back. Your left leg should be bent and your right leg should be straight. With your right heel on the floor, slowly move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your right calf. Hold for 30 seconds and release. Repeat 3-4 times.
- Sit up straight and extend both of your legs out from your body. Hold for several seconds and release. Repeat 3-4 times.