The 3 Things That Every Desk Worker Needs To Practice Daily To Avoid Injury
- Everyone can practice these concepts. Anytime. Anywhere.
- How and why you need to do them.
- Understand the value of frequent quality self-care.
In the past decade my career has ebbed and flowed into different areas of health and wellness and has now evolved into focusing on injury rehabilitation, mobility and joint restoration and movement re-education – infused with a boat load of neurology. Naturally, I started filming quick videos for my clients to remind them how to do certain movements so they felt competent and confident when doing their “homework” without me. So one day I decided, “why not share this with everyone I know in case it helps others?”
The first video I posted got over 3 thousand views in 24 hours. Okay, okay that isn’t a lot of famous people but for little ol’ me, that was a LOT. That video turned into requests for more videos and then organically “Death of the Desk” was created. In order to combat the inevitable lifestyle that most people endure; working in a fluorescent-lit office, slouched over in a cubicle and tempted with endless processed foods. I starting asking friends who worked at Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and other companies.
The 3 Things That Every Desk Worker Needs To Practice:
#1 Lengthened Spine
A neutral spine is the natural position of the spine when all 3 curves of the spine — cervical (neck), thoracic (middle) and lumbar (lower) — are present and in good alignment. This is the strongest position for the spine when we are standing or sitting, and the one that we are made to move from.
Unfortunately, for years, we have all heard “shoulders back and down!” but this creates over correction of the issue versus addressing everything else needed to create a nice lengthened spine. In my experience, working with thousands of people, I can now say that keeping the chin parallel to the floor and the pelvis in neutral are by far the hardest to actually do.
Think of stacking your vertebrae on top of each other like legos all in a nice smooth line and in between each leg you want a lot of even space. If you think of lengthening up towards the sky, the other stuff will reflexively fall into place. Instead of thinking of 5 different cues, like this: 1. Shoulders back and down 2. Tuck your pelvis 3. Double chin 4. Ribs down 5. Relax your jaw. Try just one really effective cue of lengthening your body up through the crown of the head. Learn how HERE.
Try not to focus on inhaling. It is actually better for you to focus on exhalation, the inhale will come naturally. Here are a couple drills that are easy to implement and have lasting benefits when practiced consistently: In for 2 seconds through the nose, out for 6 seconds through pursed lips. 2-3 minutes to start. This one is a bit more challenging at first so if you need to go for 2 seconds instead of 4, please, by all means, do that. It’s called 4X4 breathing!
Why? Your lungs are a passive organ. They literally rely on movement of the muscles surrounding them to make them move and help them inhale and exhale. Did you know you should be able to feel your ribs expand 360 degrees like a balloon? Did you know that you could breathe only through your belly and not your chest if you trained that way? Try it and let me know if you can. If you don’t practice good breathing, you are creating weak muscles for your lungs (no one wants that!). If you are always in a slouched position, you are making it more challenging for your body to do what is was designed to do. Breathe in a neutral long spine!
From the breathing masters of The Buteyko Method: Correct breathing is essential to good health. Optimizing your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels will provide great health benefits. It offers a quality of life previously thought impossible. The Postural Restoration Institute know a lot of good things about breathing, so check them out too! They love this drill for the Everyday Athlete.
#3 Move Often
A Great Scenario:
You’re sitting there and it’s 3 pm on Tuesday and you decide to answer one more email and then lengthen up, breathe intentionally for 5 breaths and then do 5 ankle circles on each foot, then get back to work. BOOM. Less than 2-minutes of inwards focus and you just created change in your body and awareness you didn’t have before. You are awesome. I want to squeeze you.