Remember, It’s Okay To Cross Your Legs
For years, we were told crossing your legs at your desk was the worst thing you could do for both your circulation and back health, but don’t beat yourself up for doing this, says Amy. “It’s very normal to shift positions when we sit for long periods of time, and crossing your legs is an example of how we make small adjustments to avoid pressure points and discomfort. A neutral position with support is always a good place to go back to, but it’s not realistic to maintain for eight hours a day. Therefore, crossing your legs is fine as long as you are alternating legs and not staying in one position for too long.”
Don’t Necessarily Fork Out For A Standing Desk
“If you’re going to be spending seven plus hours per day, five days per week, sitting in your chair, it’s imperative to make sure you stand up and move around regularly,” Ed stresses. “A standing desk can be helpful for this, but they aren’t right for everyone. The debate we should be having is not standing versus sitting; it should be about active versus sedentary. Moving between standing, sitting and stretching is the best way to combat a long day spent in front of a screen.” Ed says that investing in a desk riser could be a better choice, enabling you to switch between standing and sitting throughout the day. If, however, you are prone to sore hips, Amy says a standing desk could be worth the investment. “Standing can prevent you from slouching and may feel better on your hips because they are more neutral. The key is to not stay in one position too long. Prolonged positions, whether sitting or standing, will cause muscles to tighten up.” The answer? Whatever type of desk you have, make sure you are getting up and moving around at least once per hour.
Make Time To Stretch
“The body is designed for motion, not inaction, and our muscles and spines love stretching and contracting,” says Jayden Arnold, consultant physiotherapist at Ten Health & Fitness. “Giving your body small doses of these throughout the day can make a huge difference. When you’re sitting down for prolonged periods of time, some of the body’s most important muscles, such as the glutes, switch off, so it’s always a good idea to get up and reactivate them as often as you can.” For the neck and shoulders, Jayden recommends doing some simple neck rotations throughout the day, and for the lower back, doing a piriformis stretch or ten squats onto your office chair every couple of hours can help.
Stay Active Outside Working Hours
Optimal back health isn’t just about a decent desk chair – what you do outside office hours matters, too. Ed says that any exercise is good for the back, but workouts that focus on building core strength will provide greater support. “Pilates and yoga are great low-impact choices that will work the core while easing any back problems, if you have them. Those with back pain may struggle to run, but walking is a fantastic low-impact alternative.” Amy adds that those who suffer from back pain tend to have poor movement patterns, muscle imbalances and weakness in the abs and hip muscles, which leads to more stress on the smaller joints of the spine. “Try to find a workout that addresses back strengthening, posture, flexibility, hip strength and core strength. The P.volve method is great for this – it teaches your body how to properly activate and move with correct muscle balance, which relieves postural stressors.”
Know When To Seek Help
Physiotherapist Sammy Margo says persistent pain that bothers you for more than two weeks is worth getting checked out. “Back pain will usually go away with topical treatment, gentle stretching, good posture and strengthening exercise. But if you have back pain that lasts for longer than 14 days and you have shooting pains down your legs or arms, or any associated numbness, then it’s time to call your doctor.” Amy adds this could be a sign of nerve compression, which is not normal. An osteopath, chiropractor or physiotherapist (all of which can currently operate in lockdown) will be able to diagnose the source of your back pain and provide advice and support to help you on the path to a stronger, more resilient body.
For more information visit PVolve.com, Canamis.com, Ten.co.uk and SammyMargoPhysiotherapy.com
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.