According to the NHS, back pain is the largest cause of absence from work in the UK. Most people will suffer from back pain at some point in their life and it can feel like stiffness, tension, or an ache.
Making sure you have a healthy seating position at work is really important, in order to avoid aches you should move away from your desk every 30 minutes! A quick lap around the office or going to fill up your water bottle can be really effective when it comes to preventing pain. But what else can we do to help our posture?
Here are 5 exercises you can do daily, sitting down or standing up which are known to improve posture! These are all short exercises that can be done at your desk:
The name of this exercise says what it does on the tin! Whilst sitting up straight in your chair (or standing up straight). Lift your breastbone so you’re in a very upright position and lift your arms straight above your head. You should feel a stretch in your upper back! (Repeat this 5 times)
Gently lean your head toward your right shoulder. Relax your neck and let your head roll towards your chest. Continue rolling your head towards your left shoulder so you are looking left. Repeat going the opposite direction! (Repeat this 4 times)
This exercise can be performed standing up or sitting down. Sit up straight, raise your right arm above your head and lean to the left. With your left hand hold onto the left side of your chair for more stability. Alternatively, stand tall with your feet or legs together, reach both arms straight up overhead as you inhale. Lower your right arm down the right side of your body and exhale as you lengthen the left arm over the head. Bending body gently to the right, inhale to return arms overhead to centre and exhale as you repeat on the right side. (5 stretches on both sides)
Whilst sitting up straight in your chair, put your arms behind your back and interlock your hands. Exhale as you pull your elbows back into the chair. Squeeze shoulder blades together, take deep breaths as you hold for 10 seconds. Release slowly, and return to starting position. (Repeat this 5 times)
Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, or stand up. Make sure you chin and eyes are level and relax your shoulders. Place two fingers on your chin and push back as far as you feel comfortable, until you feel a gentle stretch in the base of the neck. Do this around 10-15 times a day. (Continue to do this for 1 minute)
If you’re suffering from extreme back pain, it’s best not to push yourself. But sometimes a little exercise could be exactly what your body needs. Physiotherapist Lyndsay Hirst creator of Your Pilates Physio says “Move! Movement is key to ensuring we keep back pain at bay, maintain muscle strength, joint flexibility, and mobility. Try to move your back in all directions, especially if you spend lots of time sitting. Try to vary your activity to allow your body to move in different ways.”
Completing all 5 of these exercises can help align your spine and promote good posture!