The average person in the U.S. spends over 7 hours sitting at a computer. While, for many of us, this is unavoidable – it can wreak havoc on our bodies. Studies show that spending hours at the computer negatively affects our posture, causes stiffness in the neck, upper back and shoulders as well as a contributes to numerous chronic conditions.
Fortunately, there are you exercises you can do to prevent or reverse some of these negative effects! The trick is to return mobility to the areas that are stiff while also strengthening the muscles that can become weakened over time.
Here are 7 exercises that can help get you started…
1. Seated Alternating Rows with Holds
- Sit in a bench facing the cable machine with your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet flat on the floor.
- Grab one handle in each hand – handles should be at your lower chest level.
- While maintaining a long, neutral spine, pull both handles back simultaneously by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Remain in this row position with one arm as you slowly bring the other arm forward and perform a row.
- Once that moving arm returns to the row position, bring the other arm forward and then perform a row.
- Keep alternating sides for as many reps as desired.
- Remember take deep breaths throughout and keep your shoulders from rotating in – the movement is initiating by your shoulder blades.
2. Chest Stretch Standing Next to Wall
- Stand next to a wall, keeping a tall spine and your belt buckle up.
- Slowly bring your hand on the wall with your palm facing the wall.
- Slide your hand back as far as comfortably possible – feeling a gentle stretch in your chest.
- To make the stretch a bit more intense, slowly turn your body away from your arm.
- Remember to not let your shoulder rotate inwards.
- Take deed breaths throughout and hold the stretch between 20-30 seconds.
3. Lying Ts with Thumbs Up
- Lie on your stomach on the floor and extend your arms out to your side, forming a “T.”
- Your palms are facing forward with your thumbs up.
- For neck support, consider resting your forehead against a folded towel, if desired.
- Inhale and slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together and then lift your arms off the floor.
- Exhale at the top and slowly lower and repeat as many times as desired.
- Remember to take deep breaths throughout and keep your spine lengthened and “belt-buckle” up so you don’t arch your back.
4. Standing Chicken Necks
- Stand tall , keeping your belt buckle up.
- Slowly bring your chin back (giving yourself a double-chin) so your ears line up with your shoulders.
- Hold the tucked position for 2-3 seconds and then return to the starting position and repeat for as many reps as desired
5. Band Pull-Aparts Standing with Palms Down
- Stand up straight and hold an exercise band out in front of you at around chest height. Your hands should be shoulder width apart.
- Pull the band apart, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Slowly return to the starting position and repeat as many times as desired.
- Start on your hands and knees, toes curled under, aligning your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
- Your eyes are looking straight down to the ground.
- Start by taking a deep breath in.
- Next, move into cat position by slowly tilting your pelvis back so that your tailbone sticks up, your spine flattens and you slowly look up to the ceiling without straining your neck.
- Next, slowly move into cow position by exhaling and tipping your pelvis forward, letting your spine naturally round. Try to look at your navel.
- Slowly move back into cat position and keep repeating as many times as desired
7. Lying Floor Slides
- Start by lying flat on your back, maintaining a neutral spine.
- Place your hands on the floor next to your head with your palms facing up and your elbows bent at approximately 90 degrees.
- Draw your shoulder blades down and back.
- Inhale and slowly slide your forearms along the floor while you exhale until your arms are extended as straight overhead as comfortably possible – trying to keep your hands and wrists on the floor at all times.
- Slowly slide your forearms along the floor to return to the starting position.
- Repeat as many times as desired.