- Hip flexor stretches. What happens when we spend long periods of time sitting our hip flexor muscles can become tight, because these muscles attach onto our lower lumbar spine it can often lead to lower back pain or a stiff lower back. An easy way to stretch these muscles is to start in a lunge position, knee on the ground, back toes up, chest nice and tall and squeeze your bum, tucking your pelvis so your back is still straight, hold for 60 seconds and repeat both sides.
- Glute stretches. Often when sitting for long periods of time our glute muscles (the muscles in our butt) get tight and weak. This can contribute to a tight and aching low back. An easy exercise to help is when sitting, put one ankle on the opposite knee and gently lean forward, hold for 60 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- W-Y strengthening exercise. What we notice after sitting at our desk for periods of time, our shoulders can roll forward, causing tension in our neck and shoulders, which can also lead to headaches. This W-Y exercise is a great way to help strengthen the muscles in our upper back which help with posture. How to do this exercise – standing, roll your shoulders back and down making a W shape with your arms, squeeze your shoulder blades together for 5 seconds, then move them up above your head to a Y shape, alternating between a W and Y. Focusing on squeezing shoulder blades together in the W phase.
- Pec stretch. This is a great way to help open up the front of your chest and help relieve any tension we experience in neck and shoulder from sitting at the desk each day, plus it can also help breathing. A great exercise to do if feeling a little stressed. Find a corner at home, place arms up so you are making a W and gently lean your forearms and chest into the corner, hold for 60 sec while taking some deep breaths, repeat daily.
- Upper back mobility. Sitting at the desk all day can lead to a stiff upper back and can lead to tightness in the neck and shoulders. So to counteract this I like to when sitting, place one hand on my knee and other hand on ear, elbows come together and touch then reach away in a rotational direction, opening up through the front of the chest also, repeat for 15 reps then repeat on the other side.
Dr Lisa Gadd is an osteopath, fitness professional the founder of the Living Health Group where she heads up a team of seven clinicians who work closely with elite AFL teams and several Ironman athletes. Lisa also survived a stroke when she was 24 years old and now presets key notes on health and how it is the vehicle to life, tools to set your week up for success, resilience team culture and sports injuries.