It's no secret that sitting eight hours out of every day isn't exactly good for you. But as Erica Fritz, a physical therapist from the Hospital for Special Surgery, points out in a recent Business Insider video, sitting at a desk all day can even lead to chronic pain and weight gain over the years. "One of the worst things is to sit for prolonged periods because all of the pressure is on your hips and on your low back," says Fritz. Fortunately, there are a few simple stretches you can do throughout the day to keep your body agile and healthy. She recommends the following three stretches:
- Shoulder squeezes. "Something as simple as squeezing your shoulder blades back helps to stretch out your pec muscles and … improve posture."
- Chin tucks. "Things like chin tucks—taking your chin and pulling it back—help to bring your ears over your shoulders and give you good plumb line posturing."
- Doorway lean. "Another exercise I like to tell people to do is to take both hands, put them in a doorway, and then lean through the doorway. It pulls your shoulders back and it also improves your posture."
Fritz also emphasizes the importance of standing up every 30 minutes while at work. "Not only [does standing] take the pressure off your spine, but a lot of research … show[s] that your metabolism stays elevated if all you do is stand once every 30 minutes." This especially helps if you start your morning off with a workout to get your blood flowing, followed by intermittent standing or walking breaks throughout the day. "Those three simple exercises, in addition to standing, will help reduce pain," she concludes.
How do you stay healthy while working a desk job? Share your tips with us below.