Work life wreaks havoc on us, and not just from the stressful deadlines and overhead fluorescent lighting. Being sedentary for hours on end can cause low back stiffness, rounded shoulders, sore neck muscles, and tight wrists among other issues. I reached out the founder of the Bodypeace App, Lizzie DeLacy, to get her best tips for those of us who sit all day. The Bodypeace app has several sessions under 7 minutes that you can do at your desk, with no props or yoga pants required.
Here are DeLacy’s five tips to show your body some love when you are at your desk all day.
5 Ways To Love Your Body When You Sit All Day | Stephanie Burns
1. Practice Better Posture
Our moms all told us to sit up straighter when we were younger, and there’s definitely some benefit to that. Sitting up straight prevents your shoulders from hunching inward, engages your core, and limits the strain on your low back. Mom is always right (usually)! But if sitting up straight were easy, we’d all be doing it all the time. If you’re finding it difficult to constantly sit upright, set a timer a couple times throughout the day to remind yourself to keep your spine long.
2. Take Short Breaks
If possible, take short breaks throughout the day to step away from your desk. Getting up at least once an hour, even just to lengthen out yourself briefly before sitting back down, can help reset the body and keep your muscles engaged. If you can, take one of your short breaks outside in the sun to absorb some of that vitamin D we all tend to be slightly deficient in. Grab a coworker and head for a lap around the building or block and get that blood pumping. If walking outdoors isn’t an option, at the very least don’t be on your phone during that break. Your eyes and neck can use the rest from constantly staring down at your screen.
3. Do Some Stretching At Your Desk
Incorporate convenient, functional movements into your work day. Stretching doesn’t have to take 30 minutes and a set of gym clothes. While you’re at your desk, occasionally take a seated twist, gently roll out your neck, or shake out your hands to give your wrists a break. As with most things, it takes several repetitions before something becomes habit, so find a couple of simple stretches that work best for you and try doing them multiple times throughout the day.
Stay hydrated, stay hydrated, stay hydrated! Being dehydrated can cause headaches, dizziness, lethargy, and poor body temperature regulation. Worst of all, dehydration can be the root of stiffness and pain in joints, especially in the hips. Keep a large, reusable water bottle by your side and set a goal of drinking/refilling it several times a day. Bonus, limit the amount of caffeine you consume, as coffee is a diuretic and can prevent your body from adequately staying hydrated. Surprisingly, decaf isn’t as terrible as people make it out to be.
5. Get Upside Down
Invert yourself at the end of your day. After being upright all day long, our bodies can use a little bit of an inversion to help regulate our circulation. It feels amazing for the legs and feet, which can get swollen from restricted blood flow when we sit all day. It’s also calming, and is a great way to wind down before you go to bed. Don’t go out and buy an inversion table; you can do this by simply laying on your back and positioning your legs up on a wall. It helps to place a pillow under your low back and have your hips flush to the baseboard. Allow your legs to just rest vertically on the wall, staying here for as little or as long as feels good. For even more self love, do the entire Bedtime Session on Bodypeace, which includes this stretch along with three other movements to help your body decompress after a long, stressful day of sitting.
Sedentary living is unavoidable in today’s day and age, but it doesn’t mean we have to put up with the aches and pains that come along with it. Even doing one of these five suggestions is a great start to showing your body some love when you sit all day. After all, you deserve it! Now, go fill up your water bottle.