Sitting at a desk for long periods of time – whether it be studying for school & exams, or in the office at work – can eventually start to wreak havoc on your body. Long hours spent hunched over a computer or pouring over textbooks can leave us with less-than-ideal posture; think forward-rounded shoulders, tight hips, and stiff neck & shoulders to name a few.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to counteract these postural stresses. One of the most simple and effective ways of doing this is to implement a regular foam rolling routine in to your day. Why? The benefits are endless! Foam rolling is essentially a form of self-massage that can help to help boost circulation, decrease muscle tightness, address trigger points (commonly felt as ‘knots’ in the muscles) and ultimately, decrease pain & stiffness associated with sitting at a desk for long periods of time. It’s also easily accessible and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
The team at Beyond have put together 5 of the best foam rolling stretches and exercises to help reverse poor posture and muscle tightness experienced by anyone spending long periods at a desk.
Before you get started, here are a few tips to help guide you through your foam rolling sessions:
- Move slowly – it’s not a race! Muscles take time release, so if you find a particularly sore or tight spot, apply pressure to that area for a little longer. You should feel the tightness ease soon after.
- Breathe. Some areas may feel quite painful or tender at first, so focus on your breathing to keep your body nice and relaxed.
- Get in to a good routine – the more consistently you roll, the better the results. Choose a time that works best for you whether is be after a workout, when you get home from work or before you go to bed and try stick to it.
Ok, now you’re ready to roll! Follow the links below for step-by-step instructions on how to foam roll through some of the most common problem areas for desk workers.
This exercise will help lengthen the pectoral muscles, release tension through the chest and allow the shoulders to come back to a more neutral position after you have been slumped over a desk all day.
Long hours spent slouching with your arms out in front of you typing/writing can cause an excessive curve in the thoracic spine (mid-back). Use the below exercise to release through this area, alleviating all-over back tension – this one is addictive!
Sitting for prolonged periods of time causes shortening of the hip flexors (quadriceps), which can lead to knee problems, lower back pain, and pelvic imbalances. In addition to the below exercise, ensure you take regular breaks to get up and walking from your desk.
Sitting all day long can often result in weak glute muscles that become prone to developing nasty trigger points – use the below exercise to help relieve these tender points and any associated referral pain.
Very handy for those who suffer from regular heachaches, and/or spend a lot of time staring at computer screens.