Mobility Exercises When You’re Sitting at a Desk All Day
Posted on February 03 2022
Humans were not meant to sit all day long, and yet, more and more of us do exactly that by working a sedentary job or maintaining a lifestyle at home in which we stay at a desk all day. More than 80% of jobs in North America are mostly sedentary, which reflects a drastic change from past decades when the majority of careers included standing, walking, and more strenuous physical effort.
The digital revolution has made sitting in front of a screen the new normal, but our sedentary reality is far less revolutionary for our waistlines, as well as our physical mobility, which can lead to negative effects on our general health. If your lifestyle and/or career cause you to be sitting at a desk all day, then doing some kind of mobility exercises is important for maintaining flexibility, good posture, healthy joints, and an aligned body.
Examples of Mobility Exercises to Try at Your Desk
The good news is that conducting mobility exercises (even for just a few minutes a day) helps lessen the effects of sitting all day, while improving our mobility, flexibility, and cardiovascular health, as well as our mental wellness.
Remember that whenever you complete a mobility exercise on one side of the body, you should then repeat it on the other side. That way, you are working the body towards a state of equilibrium while keeping the spine and muscle groups aligned.
- STAND: Start in a tall standing position, with both feet flat on the floor, hip width apart, and shoulders back—as if trying to touch your shoulder blades together. Now take a deep breath and let it go. Repeat. Standing and stretching tall a few times throughout the the day (while breathing deeply) can already counter some of the negative effects of sitting all day
SQUAT: With knees bent slightly, slowly lower the body towards the floor while keeping the back straight and upright. Feel the stretch in your glute muscles as you rise up again. Repeat this at least ten times and pay attention to maintaining good form. Doing squats helps increase blood flow in the legs and hips while strengthening the muscles in the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
- GLUTE BRIDGE: The glute bridge is somewhat similar to bridge pose in yoga and can help strengthen the core, as well as the glute (or butt) muscles that you use to sit. Start by lying flat on the floor, with knees bent and feet placed hip width apart. With shoulder blades planted firmly on the floor, gently raise your hip flexors skyward, keeping your back straight. Remember to breathe and flex the hips, enjoying the stretch before lowering once more. A single-leg glute bridge is one variation, in which you raise one leg straight up in the air, keeping your foot flexed and lifted while completing the glute bridge. This strengthens lower back and glute muscles, while helping blood flow to the legs. Be careful not to push your hips up so far that you put strain on your lower back – your back should stay pretty straight and not arch too much.
- TWIST: Lie down with your back flat on the floor and spread your arms out like a “T”. Keep your knees pressed together while lifting, then twist your hips to one side, resting your knees on the ground and turn your head to face the opposite direction. Now repeat on the other side. Twisting exercise can really help “open” your hip flexors and your back, which releases some of the tension that comes from sitting for long periods. Taking a few minutes each day to twist your body helps to undo a lot of the harm that comes from sitting for long periods.
In addition to adding daily mobility exercises to your work schedule, we also suggest starting a CBD routine. Adding a high-quality CBD Oil to your daily routine can promote general wellness, balance, and relaxation. If you are enjoying the benefits of CBD Oil, but have specific areas of your body that could use a little extra love, we suggest trying our CBD infused Sports Gel. The plant-based formula with capsaicin, arnica and camphor creates a hydrating and warming sensation - the perfect addition to your mobility exercises.
Is Sitting the New Smoking?
Perhaps you’ve heard it said that “sitting is the new smoking”—meaning that people who sit for long periods of time are often at higher risk for more serious health concerns like higher blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, excess body fat (and obesity), and even heart disease.
Comparing prolonged sitting with smoking may be an exaggeration since smoking is addictive and damages healthy lung tissue, while sitting for long periods of time is indicative of a slower physical decline. However, sitting too much for too long is a serious health risk of our time (much like smoking was in past decades) since it affects such a large percentage of the adult population.
The discussion around sitting at a desk all day led to important innovations in more ergonomic desk chairs as well as the popularity of things like a standing desk. In addition to better chairs and standing desks, CBD products like our Active Body Comfort capsules can help to reduce inflammation after exercise, support antioxidant activity and support joint health, all of which are important but even more so for those who sit sedentary most of the day.
Keep it Simple, but Remember to Move
If you or someone you know sits at a desk for work (or spends long periods of time sitting at home), then remember that what’s key is movement. Office initiatives and exercise programs are helpful, but do not have to be rigorous or complicated. “Use it or lose it” is a better mantra, where we recognize that people who sit for long periods of time can see a deterioration of joint flexibility, mobility, and upper body strength.
When you’re sitting at a desk all day, discovering mobility exercises that work for you can remove some of the tightness and aches you may feel in your hip flexors or back. Movement can also help release the tension and stiffness that we accumulate from staying in the same position for too long. Done properly and regularly, a few minutes of mobility exercises every day can help counter the effects of sitting all day, and in turn help improve your quality of life.
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