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Why You Need To Get Up From Your Chair

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by Raney Okeson, PFT

Stretching and Taking Micro Breaks at Work

Take a moment to think about how you feel throughout your workday. Do you feel tension in the shoulders and neck at certain periods of the day? Does your low back ache when you go home in the evening? Do you have to reach for a pain reliever because your headache has come on and its only 2 o’clock? Do you feel like you can’t focus through the afternoon because you feel too tired?

Finding Yourself Answering YES?

If you are answering yes to any of these questions chances are you are sitting in the same position for too long and your body is trying to tell you something. Think of it this way, your chair is not your friend! Our bodies are not meant to sit for 8 hours a day in the same position. Over time, your muscles begin to weaken because they are not having to work therefore there is no need for them to support you at rest sitting in a chair. Let’s face it nobody wants to walk around looking like they were molded into a chair!

To fight back from the typical “I have a desk job that is why my neck and back are killing me” comments I hear when patients come into the gym I say you MUST move your body many times throughout your workday. Not just during lunch. Make a routine for yourself or set timers if you have to.

Tips for Getting Out of Your Chair:

  • Plan to take a short 5 minute break every hour of the day. During these 5 minutes you could be efficient and move around while you are still working. This could mean stretching while sitting at your desk looking over papers or standing up and just walking around your office. You could also use that 5 minutes’ walk to the bathroom or water break just to get yourself out of your office and get your body going.
  • Placing supplies or copy machines in a different office down the hall is a good excuse to get out and move while still getting things done. Whatever it is that you choose to do just get your muscles activated and move around as much as you can throughout the day this will definitely improve your answers to the questions at the beginning from yes to no!
  • Stretching and getting out of the chair can help with neck and back pain but also help improve mental focus throughout the day.  We have provided a short demonstration of stretches on my FiT!BiT portion of the Office Ergonomics video and also a PDF version all at here that you can do in your office and even at your chair. Feel free to check it out!

– Raney Okeson

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