We’ve all heard the health warnings about sitting at a desk all day. Aside from the poor eating habits, lack of natural daylight and the warning that “sitting is the new smoking,” we also have to worry about the toll this posture takes on our physical body. Namely, tight hips, muscle degeneration, a stiff spine, sore shoulders and a strained neck, according to a report by the Washington Post.
Before you quit your job for a life on the High Seas where you’ll have plenty of access to natural light, exercise and loads of healthy fish, let me tell you about some strategic, easy-to-do yoga poses that can alleviate some of these problems.
There are a number of poses you can do right at your desk, including High Altar Pose, Scale Pose, Ankle to Knee and Cow Face Arms (creative name, right?). These poses look like your typical everyday office stretches, but when done correctly, they can really ease the tension in your wrists, hands, arms, hips, back and neck.
Speaking of cows, the Huffington Post has an additional six yoga poses tailored for anyone who sits at a desk all day. They’ve got great names that incorporate not just these livestock, but the whole gamut of city and country dwellers, including cats, dogs and pigeons. These poses, ironically, are executed in a sitting position, though this is done on a yoga mat on the floor. They can be great to execute during lunch or a work break if you have the proper space. If not, they’re also very easy to do first thing in the morning or after you get home from work.
One of the reasons I like yoga is it not only provides a physical benefit in the forms of better posture, more muscle definition and a leaner frame (when practiced on a regular basis), but it also allows you to clear your mind. The silent, dimly lit spaces where many choose to practice can also do wonders for your mental health. Yoga is also ideal when combined with a form of meditation – whatever form works best for you. While you may not achieve enlightenment, the quiet, still time after yoga allows you to reflect on your day, your wins and losses and tends to provide clarity on how you should move forward once you resume your everyday activities.
So next week, I challenge you to incorporate at least a few of these poses into your daily routine. Feel free to start small. Browse the poses in the links above and choose a few that focus on the body parts you wish to target. After a week’s time, I’ll bet those joints are feeling so much better that you not only continue this routine, but pick up a few more poses in the interim. As with all new exercise routines, check with your doctor first if you have any pre-existing health conditions or physical limitations.