The life of business has many perks.
But, we aren’t here to talk about how much money you can make or your corner office.
We’re here to talk about your desk. Well, mainly the chair at your desk. A necessary evil to get the job done. We sit, we work, we stand up and say, “Crap, my back hurts”. Eventually, we go to a chiropractor and say “fix me” only to have your back cracked a few times and sent back to your office with no plan of how to stop the cycle.
Is there something you can do to stop this revolving door?
As much as I like tI want you to understand that just because you have to work does not mean you have to hurt. You might be surprised to hear that the professional athletes I’ve worked with deal with the same issues. That’s right, professional athletes are dealing with the same thing. They sit on buses for 5+ hours and spend hours on end at their lockers. Needless to say, I’m very familiar with this problem.
And it’s not as difficult to fix as you think.
Tip #1: Get up every 30 minutes, be the weird one
Only spend 30-40 minutes sitting at a time. If you need a reminder, set one on your phone that will buzz every so often in order to get you up and take a lap around the office. So what if it’s not the culture at work to walk around, tell anyone that has a problem that you are trying to make #gainz and this is an indirect way to help you do so.
Tip #2: Make the glutes a priority
Fire up the glutes. When sitting, the glutes are not necessarily “turned off” as some people may suggest. Muscle fibers always have some low level activation going on, but not to the point that causes a muscle contraction per say. Over time, the process of the glutes being activated gets rusty. Seeing that these are one of the most important muscle groups in the body, and on Instagram, we want to hit this muscle group 3 times each week at the gym. I would say 2 times is sufficient, but because this is directed towards people who spend 6-8 hours per day at a desk it needs to be more.
Tip #3: Stretching doesn’t fix this
This one is simple, stop stretching so much. The position that a chair puts you into makes you feel something mean in your lower back/hamstring areas. So, instinctively you decide to bend over and touch your toes to relieve that feeling of tension. The issue there is you may end up causing more of an issue. Joint health is an extremely important thing, but bending over and touching your toes for 30 seconds is not going to undo 6 hours each day for 5 day per week totaling up to 30 hours per week times 4 weeks equaling 120 hours per month you spend in that rounded back, seated position. Stretching your hamstrings might also not be effective because your hamstrings are most likely causing your back pain anyhow.
Tip #4: “I just need to sit up straight”
“Sitting up straight” is not going to fix this.
Your back aches, so you instinctively yank your neck up and reverse curve your low back. Now, you feel like you are sitting straighter and avoiding the problematic rounded spine. What you don’t know is that not only have you overlooked the issue, you may have just caused a whole different one entirely. What you need is a stable, stacked spine over top of your hip bones. Pulling your low back into a rounded position the opposite way does not do this.
Instead of curving your back the opposite way to fix the problem, try a 5 minute breathing drill you can find here. I find this drill to help with not only back pain, but serves a purpose for stress relief as well.
Tip #5: Walk it out
Walk 15 minutes per day at least. Spending time walking each day can work wonders. Trust me on this. Yes, you have time to do it. No, it doesn’t need to be running. Go walk 15 minutes per day gym or no gym you can find time. This tip applies to any age. 20 and 30 year olds still need to be doing this too.
Follow the tips here and you’ll have a better chance of avoiding chronic back pain. If you start to check this boxes, but only stick with the half the time I can’t guarantee any of them work for you. This has to be routine and it has to be something you repeat over and over for a period of time. One day of anything won’t do anything for you in the the long run.
- Get up every 20-30 minutes at work to walk around the room
- Hit the glutes 2-3x/ week
- Avoid stretching, strengthening is a better option
- Sitting up straight isn’t the answer, diaphramatic breathing instead
- Walk everyday for 15 minutes everyday
Leave some comments below with any questions you may have on the topic.