While it may feel physically easy to sit at a desk all day, it is actually really hard on your body. Even if you work out on a regular basis, sitting at a desk all day will cause you to develop poor posture habits. Add to that the attention you give to your smartphone during the day, and you will realize that your upper body is not in the healthiest of positions either.
Looking down all day can lead to neck pain, problems with your posture, and muscular imbalances, which can all lead to injuries. Having tight muscles is a quick way to become injured when you're working out because you don't have the range of motion that you need to perform loaded movements safely and effectively.
If you try to life weights with tight muscles, other muscles may work harder to compensate for the weaker ones, which would make you build muscle in places that you do not intend to do so. Taking the time to improve your posture at the gym and during the day can impact how you feel, help you avoid injuries, and help you reach your fitness goals.
To alleviate tight muscles caused by sitting all day at your desk, you have to move more. Take frequent breaks from your desk and stand up to walk around. Sitting puts constant tension on your tissues and standing up helps hit the reset button to help reduce the negative impacts of sitting.
Then, take time to stretch out some common tight areas by nodding your head and stretching your neck on both sides. Do some shoulder rolls in both directions to loosen up that area.
You also want to stretch out your wrists. You can do this by lacing your fingers together and facing your palms outward. Raise your arms to make a cross with your body while pushing your palms out.
For your upper back, put both of your hands on your desk while you're seated and straighten your arms while rounding your back. Press your hands gently onto your desk and try to widen your shoulder blades as you breathe in. The more you do exercises like this, the more relaxed your muscles will be.
Doing regular static stretches every day will help loosen your muscles, so consider adding these some of these movements to your daily routine.
Reverse TabletopSit up in a chair with your back straight as you normally would and place your palms directly behind you with your fingers aimed toward your body. Breathe in while gently pushing your hands and feet to the ground to lift yourself up from the chair and extend your hips upwards. Let your breath out and pull your shoulder blades together to open your chest and look up toward the ceiling. Hold this for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat the position until you have stretched for an entire minute.
Cat/CowGet down on all fours and flatten your back like a tabletop while keeping your toes tucked underneath you. Breathe in, relaxing your stomach so it expands toward the ground, and gently arch your back inward. Release your breath as you round your spine, bringing your chin close to your chest, and releasing your toes. Do this 6 to 10 times.
Bird DogRemaining down on all fours, tuck your left toes underneath your foot and lift your left leg out behind you, lifting it off the floor to hip height. Engage your core and slowly reach your right arm up to shoulder height with your palm facing inward and your thumb pointing up to the ceiling. Hold this position for 7 to 8 seconds before returning to your starting position and repeating the stretch on the opposite side. Repeat this 6 to 10 times on each side.
Fixing Your Posture at the GymTo avoid getting injured, it is imperative to do a proper warm up before working out. You only need about five minutes to warm up, and if you skip this step, you may be forced later on to take a lot more time off if and when you get injured.
You can warm up by hanging from a bar to stretch your muscles, doing some deep breathing exercises, and stretching out on all fours. Make sure to focus on your spine and shoulders while you are warming up so you can also focus on them while you're working out.
About the Author
Dave Mugavero is the owner of Custom Bodies Fitness in Irvine, California. He is extremely proud of his success as the top rated health club in Orange County. Dave has been in the fitness industry for over 24 years, and is widely considered by his peers to be a “Weight Loss Guru”. His extensive knowledge of nutrition, human physiology, personal training and weight loss techniques, and his caring commitment to each client are what make him an expert in his field. He has been a top ranked Natural Body Builder and highly sought after personal trainer and lecturer.