Graphic by Alex Schloer

Graphic by Alex Schloer

You’re gazing longingly out the office windows, impatiently waiting for warm, sunshiny weather.

You’re sitting at computers 40 hours a week, and the sedentary life is catching up with you. You’re feeling like a lump in a desk chair. We get you. Dr. Scott Hammons from Elite Sports and Spine of Bellevue has a few tips to get you moving and feeling less lump-like as you upgrade your status from weekend warrior into fully engaged Pacific Northwest explorer.

  1. Micro breaks. Take a 30-60 second break every 20-30 minutes while at your workstation. This involves getting up and walking around, which will improve blood flow and help with muscle tension and joint pain. Get hydrated during these breaks. But skip the coffee, soda, and tea. Instead, opt for ultra-healthy water. Improved water intake and staying hydrated decrease muscle tightness.
  2. Range of motion exercises help decrease muscle and joint pain. While at your workstation, get in the habit of taking a few minutes to roll your shoulders forward and backward for 15-20 seconds, as well as moving your head from side to side, front to back and in a circle for the same amount of time. Do this one to two times an hour, and at the end of the day you won’t feel so much like a lump on a log.
  3. Remember to breathe properly. Proper diaphragmatic breathing significantly decreases muscle tension, especially in the upper back and shoulder regions. This means the stomach should rise during breath intake, instead of drawing in. This allows more space in the lungs for the good stuff.
  4. Take advantage of your lunch break to take a short walk or engage in some sort of exercise. This simple break will have an overall positive impact on muscle and joint stiffness from sitting all day as well as release endorphins to increase overall energy and mental focus. And when the weather is nice, wouldn’t you rather be outside anyway? Thought so.
  5. Having proper workstation ergonomics is a must. Poor workstation ergonomics is one of the main causes of back-related issues. Proper ergonomics allows for improved posture, so instead of slouching over that keyboard, raise the monitor off the desk so your chin doesn’t drop to your chest. Get both feet on the floor, and elongate the neck straight to the ceiling, yoga-style. Bonus: Sitting with good, ergonomic posture makes that deep-breathing thing easier.