Five Habits To Have If You Work A Desk Job
April 20th 2020. By Workout Depot.
If you work a desk job, one thing is certain, long periods of sitting. Whilst this can’t be avoided unless your fortunate enough to have a standing/seated desk, there are things to help minimise it’s impact on your health & athletic performance,
In this article, we explore five methods to help with working a desk job.
1. Flexibility Training
Too often, flexibility is overlooked, despite it playing a pivotal role in athletic performance, overall health and injury prevention. Unfortunately, sitting at a desk for long periods, only compounds this issue. Sitting in the same position repeatedly, for long periods, can result in muscles becoming strained and tight. Leading to a loss in mobility, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of injury and reducing movement efficiency.
Typically, the muscles that are worst off are the hip flexors, lower back and hamstrings. Stretching these muscles daily can help to length the muscle and prevent tightness. A lunge position can be a fantastic stretch to target the hip flexors. However, the critical point to note is not to focus on the ‘depth’ of the lunge, but rather in keeping the core engaged to prevent the pelvis from rolling backwards, which dramatically reduces the effectiveness of the stretch. Always remember to squeeze the core! A yoga move known as child’s pose is also an excellent stretch to target the lower back and open up the hips. Hip mobility is essential in almost any sport and plays a vital role in crucial compound lifts such as the squat and deadlift.
Attending Yoga or Pilates classes can help in improving your body awareness and increase your knowledge of various stretches. Following a specialist flexibility plan can also aid in improving flexibility & athletic performance.
2. Water Intake
During the rush of the working day, it’s easy to forget something as simple as to drink water, and yet it plays such a massive effect on our health and athletic performance. The amount of water each individual requires daily varies according to several factors; temperature, amount of exercise, caffeine intake, food intake etc.
The key point is to find a balance that works for you, based on your circumstances, and ensure that you stay hydrated throughout the day. Taking a water bottle to work should be an absolute must, allowing you to take water in on-demand through your day. It’s also far easier to remember the number of times you’ve refilled your water bottle, than trying to add up what various cups of water amounts to. If you’re really struggling to stay on top of your water intake during your workday, setting reminders on your phone can be an effective way to build a routine that will form a habit going forward.
3. Heading Out For A Walk At Lunch
A walk at lunchtime is a great way to get the body moving again after a long period of being stationary. It’s especially beneficial for the hips which can be stuck in the seated position for extended periods each day. Giving the muscles a chance to move and lengthen, aiding in keeping the hips mobile and healthy. Walking at lunch comes with the added benefits of being able to burn some extra calories over your lunch break, which can add up to a considerable amount over the week.
4. Strengthening The Core
It not all about having ‘washboard abs’… A strong core is essential for supporting the spine throughout the day, be that walking around, exercising, or sitting at your desk. It all related to the core. When seated for long periods, it’s easy to lose track of posture, often leading to sloughing and the shoulders rounding forward. After a time, this continued positioning can lead to various ailments such as a tight lower back, hips and shoulders. Strengthening your core will help in maintaining neutral alignment when seated. Alongside compound lifts and various sporting activities, the core can be targeted by isolated exercises such as crunches, lying/hanging leg raises and planks. When seated, it can often be useful to ‘flex’ your abs by focusing on contracting your core muscles. This conscious effort of ‘flexing’ helps to ensure that your core is engaged throughout the day and can help in maintaining good posture when seated.
5. Regular Mini-Breaks / Postural Resets
As simple as it sounds, just standing up and moving for a small period, regularly throughout the day can go along way in helping your posture. Just remember to keep good core engagement and posture even when standing. In short, if you can find a reason to stand, for even a short period, do it! Whether that be reading documents or holding conversations, standing for even short periods can help give the body a much-needed break and help you reset.