Use it or lose it. Impacts from sedentary work.
You like your job. It provides you with satisfaction and money. Most of the time you enjoy your work environment. Your coworkers (or at least most of them) are very nice people. But… You spend 8 hours at your desk Every.Single.Day. Then you drive home and spend a little bit more time sitting with your laptop. You need this additional sedentary time because you want to book your holiday trip and download your next exciting book. There are so many reasons for sedentary hours. Nowadays the world doesn’t support you in being physically active. It is all about mind activities. Your brain is overactive, but at the same time, your muscles are underactive. It could be not a big deal. However, if you do not use your muscles, you lose them. This process happens slowly, but gradually. Another fact is that some muscles while becoming weaker are still overused and tight. Remember your posture when you sit at your desk. Your elbows are bent, your upper arms might be moved a little bit forward, sometimes your shoulders are uneven. Also, your hips and knees joints are in a flexed position. For eight hours five days a week. Muscles usually act in pairs: for example, biceps (front part of your arm) bends your elbow, triceps (back of your arm) extend your elbow. When you are seating with your elbows flexed, the biceps are contracted and shorten while the triceps are stretched and relaxed. If you spend in this position many hours, muscles imbalance occurs after some time. Your biceps become very tight, and your triceps become very weak. One day you discover that you can’t fully extend your elbows.
Impacts on your body from sedentary work:
- Tight Chest Muscles and weak Middle Back Muscles. Reasons: upper arms are moved forward, shoulders are rounded for a long time.
- Tight Upper Back Muscles and weak Middle Back Muscles. Reasons: shoulders are elevated for many hours.
- Tight Biceps and weak Triceps. Reasons: elbows are constantly flexed.
- Tight Hip Flexors (Psoas, Illiacus Muscles) and weak Butt Muscles (Glutes Muscles). Reasons: legs are bent in hips joint during seating on a chair.
- Tight Back of the Legs (Hamstrings) and weak Front of the legs (Quadriceps). Reasons: knees are constantly bent.
How to prevent muscles imbalance and tightness in muscles.
Good working position.
An ergometric workplace is one of the solutions. Using a sit-stand desk, you can change your position during the working hours and limit your seating time. An ergonomic chair is another option for making your day more comfortable and keeping a good posture. Keyboard and mouse positions also play a critical role in muscles tightness and imbalance. Make sure that these devices are adjusted for your body. Often poor positioning of a computer mouse gives and keyboard gives you uneven shoulders and upper back tightness. The position of a monitor plays an important role for your neck and upper body muscles.
To check if your workplace is ergonomic, try to be aware of your posture during the day and notice any discomfort you have. Maybe your shoulders are uneven. Maybe you keep your head bent forward. You also can go to the internet and find parameters for healthy position in front of the desk. In addition, there are ergonomic specialists who can come to your workplace, take measurements and provide a report about necessary improvements. However, this option is expensive.
Stretch your tight and overused muscles regularly. You can do it every day in the evening or have small breaks for moving around and stretching during your work hours.
Do each stretch exercise for at least 30 sec.
Resistance training helps to improve muscles balance by strengthening weak muscles. Although you still need to perform exercises for your tight muscles, focus more on increasing strength of your weak muscles.
Massage and self-massage.
Sometimes it is necessary to pay a visit to a massage therapist or a physiotherapist. If you spent many years overusing your muscles during the sedentary job, you would hugely benefit from deep tissue massage or other release techniques for muscles and fascia.
There are different tools for self-massage such as form roller, lacrosse ball, deep muscles massage stick. You can use them almost anytime and anywhere.