In our modern world, much of our time can be spent seated in front of an office computer, steering wheel or gaming console. General exercise, such as sport, fitness, yoga or walking help to combat this, but perhaps not enough according to some experts.
Office workers who spend hours at a time sedentary and focused in front of a computer screen, may be doing themselves irreparable damage. While cramped postures certainly contribute to poor posture, forward head carriage and increased load on their spine, a greater problem is contributed to the sedentary behavior itself. This lowers our heart rate, has hormonal ramifications, and can increase our mortality rates despite having active, healthy hobbies outside of the office.
That's right. Sitting for too long can actually undo the hard work you put towards your fitness. The new phrase bandied about is, "Sitting is the new Smoking." This has led some offices to introduce sit to stand desks that allow for more agility at the work station, and trials are underway to determine if it can help decrease the burden of back pain in office workers.
Standing alone will not suffice. Health experts now recommend moving more regularly at work, doing something that increases the heart rate. One strategy is to take regular breaks away from one's desk; another is to walk files to colleagues around the office instead of emailing them; yet another is to ensure that you always take the stairs at work, and avoid lifts and escalators when possible.
The above picture is an exercise/stretch that you can incorporate on your breaks. If you observe the photo, you will see this is essentially the opposite posture we adopt when seated at a computer.
Some tips for this exercise: 1) Keep the shoulders away from the ears, and imagine that you are trying to put the tips of your shoulder blades into your back pockets 2) Flick the finger tips backward to extend the fingers. This will increase the stretch that you feel in your forearms, biceps and chest. 3) Do this exercise for 30 seconds each hour. Remember: your posture is essentially that which you train. If you train a computer posture where you are hunched, flexed forward, and slouching down...well, then that is the posture you will adopt in everyday life. 4) Try to stand tall while performing this exercise and tuck in your chin. Practicing Bruggers's position of relief can help combat poor posture. And performing it while standing up and away from your desk is a healthy habit at work.