Most of us, whether at the computer, behind the wheel, hunched over our bicycle or in front of the TV, are spending many hours sitting. And that seems to be what we do in our culture – sit. Because of this, certain muscles are in a shortened position, the body gets out of balance, and we feel achy, stiff and cranky. The hamstrings and hip flexors become tight. And the front of the shoulders and chest have been locked in a forward position, and we start to assume a hunched-over posture. Not good – not healthy! The pain is often felt in the low back, hips and the shoulders, among other places.
What can we do about this? A few self-care stretches and postures can really help:
- Lie on your back and wrap a towel or strap around the foot. With the knee straight or slightly bent, pull the leg toward you, stretching the hamstrings. Switch sides. Hold each gentle stretch for 30 seconds and repeat a few times.
- In a lunge position, with the back knee on the floor (or a mat), lean forward to stretch the front of the hip. Again, hold and switch sides.
- If you’re at the gym, or have access to a large therapy ball, drape yourself over the ball – face up – and let the weight of the arms and legs open the body. Gently rock back and forth. Reach the arms out and then up, breathe, and let the chest and shoulders stretch.
- Bend forward, keeping the feet apart and knees straight. Lace the fingers together behind you and extend the arms over your back and head as far as possible. Without changing this position, lift your head back in opposition. Hold for 20 seconds, then bend the knees and slowly come back to an upright position.
Being consistent with these self-care stretches and postures will really help with aches and pains due to sitting for too many hours. Ask our massage therapists or personal trainers for help with this, and for other ideas. There is a great hand-out that we can give you called “Computer Posture Exercises”.
And, of coarse, book an hour massage! You’ll be glad you did. Along with you’re routine at the office, home or gym, a professional massage will give you relief and help reinforce the work you are doing on your own. We can help releasing the hamstrings, hip flexors, chest and shoulders. This will get the body back in balance.
Yes, we do spend a lot of time sitting, but with some consistent self-care and a good massage session, we will feel relaxed and healthy again. Thanks for reading this, and feel free to ask one of us for help.