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Why It Pays to Be A Desk Athlete

By Sandy Schroeder

Like many of us, you may spend a lot of time fixed in one position at your desk. But you may not have realized how your position compares with those of an athlete.

Researchers say computer workers and distance runners can wind up with similar injuries when muscles are tightened for too long a time. Blood can’t flow to refresh the muscles, and injuries can develop.

Julie Cote, McGill University researcher, says if you stay in one position at your desk for a long period of time the blood flow may slow, and stagnate, which may lead to chronic back, neck and shoulder pain. But taking breaks to move every hour can loosen tight muscles, get the blood flowing, and clear the mind.

Cote also notes, “When your body hurts, your work suffers.”  Motion could help you avoid neck and back pain, and improve your work.

Moving Options

The options for movement range from short 10-minute walks to stretches to using treadmill or standing desks. Cote says her research indicates the treadmill may improve posture and reduce the risk of neck and shoulder pain.

For starters to use movement to get the blood flowing, do knee bends or jumping jacks in your office. Or try stretches like these.

Chin Workout – If you use tablets, phones or laptops, you may want to use a stretch like this to correct a forward head position. Push your chin forward, then gradually pull it back toward your throat. See if you can keep your chin parallel to the floor. Repeat every hour 5 to 10 times.

U-Neck – Trace a U shape by leaning the head to the right and slowly rolling it down with the chin to the chest and back up.  

Neck Lean - Bend the right ear to the right shoulder. Repeat on the left side.

Back Neck Stretch – Stand with feet apart. Reach hands behind back and grip left wrist with right hand. Slowly straighten the left arm moving it away from the body. Slowly lower your right ear toward your shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Whatever movements you choose at work, keeping the blood flowing could help you increase productivity, and avoid neck, shoulder or back pain.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic

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