Originally published on the Life Ready blog 

We all have to do it, but a long day at work sitting in front of a computer can leave us feeling tight through the shoulders, stiff in the neck and suffering with headaches.

Due to the posture adopted while sitting at the computer the spine tends to flex forward which can increase the pressure through the discs of the spine, whilst tightening the muscles through the shoulders and neck.

Here are 10 tips to help freshen the body from sitting at you desk all day: 

Don’t slump in your chair

Having support at the lumbar spine to maintain a ‘neutral’ position helps ease pressure on the discs in the lower back, whilst unloading the joints in the spine. Some chairs have a ‘lumbar’ support, otherwise a lumbar support pillow can be used.

Keep an ergonomic workstation

Keep feet flat on the floor (or a stool if your feet don’t touch the floor) and elbows at 90degrees, wrists neutral and shoulders relaxed.

Take regular breaks

Breaking every 30-60min to stand and go for a walk (even if it’s for a glass of water or toilet break) helps keep the spine mobile and releases tension built up in the muscles.

Roll your shoulders

Rolling the shoulders forwards and backwards will allow movement at the joints and help release the muscle tightness, this should be done every 20-30min. Even dropping your hands to your lap will help ease tension in the shoulders.

Hydrate

Drink lots of water while sitting at your desk. This helps with brain function, hydration and flushing toxins that build up in the body.

Hands free

Don’t rest the phone between the ear and the shoulder for phone conversations. Try to use a head set if you need your hands to type or write while on the phone.

Get moving

Exercise during the working week or even at lunchtime. Since sitting at the desk takes up most of our time in the working week, keeping active is extremely important for the health, function and strength of your muscles. Try Pilates, yoga or core strengthening on a fit ball at home.

Take a break

Try to leave the office at least once a day to get some fresh air and stretch your legs.

Stretch

Have a list of stretches next to your desk to do regularly (every hour) for your neck and lower back (Example: rotate the neck, roll the shoulders, stretch arms behind your back, stand up and extend at the lower back).

Mix it up

If possible, mix up your regular work routine and try working from home.

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