Is Your Desk Literally a Pain in the Neck?

November 10, 2014

Do you suffer from sore shoulders, lower back pain, and uncomfortable hip tightness? Are you one of the millions of Americans who spend upwards of eight hours a day sitting in one position behind a desk? These two facts could be related!

It’s well known that leading a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous to your long-term health, increasing your risk for a multitude of health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. If you make your body stay in one position for many hours – particularly if that position isn’t ergonomic – it isn’t surprising that muscle contraction and weakness from both overuse and underuse leads to aches and pains we typically attribute to “getting older”. The best way to naturally ensure your muscles and joints stay limber, loose, and youthful is to engage them in a moderate amount of use and movement throughout the day!

Sitting? Standing? Why limit yourself?

All day standing allows you to burn calories and challenge yourself physically, but what if you’d like to flex between a challenging standing position and resting sitting position over the course of the business day? Every Xdesk model is equipped with a state-of-the-art drive chain lift system with 267 different positions for a custom, comfortable position at any height – sitting or standing. Highly efficient, virtually silent, and extremely smooth, Xdesk adjusts 54% faster than other adjustable desk models, and has three programmable buttons that allow you to move between sitting and standing without interrupting your workflow or the contents of your desk.

Also consider trading your traditional office chair for an exercise ball that challenges your stability and offers a comforting level of cush while in the seated position! You can even add a cushioned mat underfoot to reduce the impact of standing sessions.

Stretch your muscles to stretch your mind

Whether you’re sitting or standing at your desk, taking a ten minute break to stretch your legs, ask your teammate a quick question, grab a drink of water, and perform cubicle-friendly stretches are effective, discreet ways to avoid eye strain, increase focus, and boost energy levels. Some easy at-desk stretches include:

  • Neck stretch: Place your right hand over the top of your head, just above your left ear. Gently pull your right ear to your right shoulder to lengthen the muscles in your neck and shoulder. Hold for ten seconds, and perform this move for your left and front sides.
  • Shoulder crunch: Place your hands on your desk in front of you. While keeping your head and body still, raise your shoulders until you feel your shoulder bones coming close together in back. This move helps relieve the ill effects of slouching.
  • Chest opener: Raise your right arm above your head, and bend your arm so that your right hand touches the base of your neck, between your shoulders. Keeping your left arm at your side, bend your elbow so that your left hand is palm-up on the small of your back. Gradually move your hands closer and closer together. If you are able to touch your hands on your back with minimal strain, try interlocking your fingers and gently pulling to open the chest. Take a deep breath. Reverse the position for the left side and repeat.
  • Hip loosener: Sitting straight and alert at your chair, place your right ankle on your left knee, making a triangle with your left leg. Gently pressing down on your right knee, lean forward, easing into the strain until is uncomfortable. Hold for up to a minute, and then release. Repeat for your left side. This loosens the gluteus maximus and hamstrings – two main culprits for muscle strain and pain in the back and hips.

Remember that loosening muscles takes time, patience, and consistency. Taking the time to stretch during the day, and working a more intense stretch into your morning or bedtime routine can help relieve pain you’ve come to take for granted! To further combat knots and aches, massage deep tissue with a physical therapy foam roller or an inexpensive tennis ball. Want to take office fitness to the next level? Consider integrating the Xdesk Fit or the Xdesk Pulse into your Xdesk standing desk to increase your stamina and creativity.

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