The 4 Common Office Worker Problems From Sitting All Day

What you will learn:

I’m an office worker, what stretches can I do while sitting at my desk?

It sucks, I know. Being stuck for hours a day at a desk can not only be mind-numbingly boring but also detrimental to how you move and your training goals. Even as a coach I spend more time at the desk than I do on the gym floor. Being a desk-bound athlete doesn’t have to be bad though, you just need to know the essential activities you can do at your desk to keep you in good condition for when your workout or next adventure comes.

So for the office worker, what are the common problems?

Tight hips, sore lower back, poor posture and wrist pain.

This is usually because we spend an awful amount of time in forward flexion. If your workstation isn’t set up properly or you simply have bad habits when it comes to the way you work, it really adds up over the long term. On average, we work for eight hours a day, five days per week.

Assume we have 4 weeks of holiday a year but that equals 80 days of sitting per year. The average person also watches up to four hours of TV/streaming every day and spends at least 2 hours on social media. So that’s potentially another 60 days per year of poor posture and sitting. That’s not even including your weekend binge-watch.

How to fix your tight hips

“The hips don’t lie” – Shakira

If we spend up to 14hrs a day in hip flexion, it’s no wonder our hips are tight as office workers. We usually only discover this by having a stiff lower back or by trying to get into hip extension for activity. To start, focus on mobilising the muscles surrounding the hips and adding stability drills like glute bridges that will help you get to hip extension.

How to release tight hips

Complete the mobility and movement flow below for 2 rounds. Use as little rest as possible and add more rounds if required:

60sec Ankle Mobility
60sec Couch Stretch
60sec Hip Prying

Swap hip prying for frog stretch (internal rotation) or active pigeon (external rotation) as required.

Once completed you can test movements such as your Ankle ROM and Overhead Squat to assess the impact of the session.

How to fix lower back soreness

I wrote a whole blog on lower back soreness and how to remedy it here. But for those office workers who want it simplified, release the tension using trigger point and focus on a floor-to-standing approach when adding movements back in. The ground increases our perception of safety and any office worker that has had issues with their lower back, knows that if you don’t feel safe it will simply stay tight.

Stretches for lower back pain

This is a little longer of a sequence, complete 1-2 times or as many as needed. It’s designed to take you from floor to standing to keep you safe.

15 Hip Bridges (pick an option)
60sec Brettzel e/s
15 Roller Rotations e/s
10 Deadbugs e/s
10 Bird Dog e/s
10 Vertical Shin

Once completed you can test movements such as your spinal clearing tests and toe touch to assess the impact of the session.

How to fix your posture

For the office worker text neck, screen height and laziness are some of the common factors that effect our posture. The more time we spend in forward flexion the more trouble we will have trying to get into the right position when we train or simply just want to sit properly. That’s why we feel fatigued when we try to sit up straight.

Complete the sequence below for 2 rounds. Use as little rest as possible and add more rounds if required:

30sec Rib Grab & Reach or Quad Rotation e/s
60sec Wrist Mobility (Extension or Flexion)
60sec Brettzel e/s
15 Scap I, T, Y’s

Once completed you can test movements such as your clearing tests to assess the impact of the session.

How to fix sore wrists

If you’ve ever suffered tennis/golfers elbow you might be surprised when you found out it had a lot to do with your wrists. They’re an often over looked joint as we usually associate tennis or golfers elbow with our shoulders (which it can be). If you are an office worker that spends a large amount of time on the keyboard, you might want to give these a try:

So there you have it, a complete deskbound athlete routine you can complete with minimal equipment such as your chair or desk. Focus on these for blocks of 10mins every couple of hours and you will see the difference when it comes to your training. Combine this with getting out of the office for regular walks or walking meetings and you will really start to break down the negative effects of sitting all day.

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