Office with a difference

Roman Koch 9. March 2023

Foto: Chernetska

Your physical balance while sitting for long periods of time is crucial for your health. When you sit, you rust. So, you need to stay supple. Here you’ll learn how to loosen up your office day with three small exercises.

This article is from Spiraldynamik

Humans are not made to sit for hours on end and the body will inevitably suffer for it. As an office worker, tension and pain can hound you from meeting to meeting or from the first to the last email of the day. Unfortunately, sitting for too long has a negative impact on many aspects of the body. Not only does your musculoskeletal system suffer from the unvarying position, but also your metabolism and brain performance. If you incorporate more movement into your office day, you can benefit in all areas.

Sitting for hours causes the hip flexors to shorten over a longer period of time. If the hip flexors are too short, the pelvis is pulled forwards and downwards when standing. A hollow back will thus become more pronounced when standing, causing pain in the lower back when you stand for a long time. The following exercise will help against short hip flexors when sitting:

Hip opener

Start: Sit down with just one buttock on a chair that doesn’t have armrests. Move your pelvis completely backwards so your back is against the backrest. Now push your free hanging leg back as far as you can. Keep your upper body upright. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Then switch sides.

Dosage: 2-3 sets of at least 30 seconds per side holding this position.

Take note: Keep your forward leg facing straight ahead. Prevent a hollow back by pushing your pelvis and lower back into the backrest. Keep your rear leg axis straight as well.

Variation: Do the same exercise without a chair. Raise your rear foot and stay in the lunge position.

Upper body twister

The back muscles cannot hold the upright sitting position for a long period of time. This leads to slumping and poor neck and back posture. After years of office work, you can end up with premature wear and tear and postural defects. It’s therefore important to make your back more mobile while sitting. With the following exercise, you can improve your back mobility while you work. 

Start: Slide forwards a little on your chair. Raise both arms in the air. Now rotate one arm forwards and the other backwards. Your upper body should now be twisted with your head facing sideways. Now bend your front arm along with your upper body towards your back arm to open the side of your rib cage. Then come back to the starting position with both arms raised and rotate to the other side.

Dosage: 2 sets of 10 repetitions per side.

Take note: Keep your upper body upright. The rotation comes from your thoracic spine, your pelvis stays fixed on the chair.

Variation: Now combine the hip opener exercise with the upper body twister exercise.

Posterior extension

Sitting for a long time doesn't give the backside of your body enough length. The «downward-facing dog» yoga position would be perfect for you. But this is rather difficult to incorporate into everyday office life. With the following exercise you can turn a phone call into a posterior loosening exercise:

Start: Stand in front of your rotated chair. Now place one leg on the chair seat. Keep your back straight and bend your upper body forwards and down. Keep your feet relaxed and your upper body straight. Bend forwards until you feel a slight pull at the back of your leg. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Then return to the starting position and switch sides.

Dosage: 1 set of 5 repetitions.

Take note: Let your raised foot hang loosely forwards. Look forwards and down so that your neck is long and straight. The movement comes from the pelvis.

Variation: Now rotate your upper body to the side of your raised leg.