Our bodies are designed to move. However, if you have a regular desk job you are probably seated for long periods of the day. How many hours do you spend sitting down, whether it be at work, driving your car, or simply watching television? The answer is, probably far longer than you ever realised. What impact is this daily slouch having on your body? I have listed my top 7 drawbacks below. All of these drawbacks are quite commonplace, and something you need to be aware of.
- Forward Head Posture
- Protruding Gut
- Rounded Shoulders
- Flat Butt
- Lower Back Pain
- Tight Hamstrings
- Knee Pain
1. Forward Head Posture
Adopting the slouch position over your desk can lead to forward head posture, as illustrated in the photograph above. This can lead to chronic neck pain.
Need to – stretch neck muscles
2. Rounded Shoulders
The majority of people have some degree of rounded shoulders, which can strain your upper back muscles leading to pain and injury. If this becomes chronic you can develop a hump in your back. It also contributes to shallow breathing as your diaphragm is compressed.
Need to – strengthen upper back muscles and stretch chest muscles
3. Lower Back Pain
You can experience lower back pain with the daily slouch as your lower back muscles weaken. Or you can experience anterior pelvic tilt where the lower back muscles tighten up. Either way, both can lead to pain and injury in the lower back.
Need to – assess posture and strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight ones.
4. Protruding Gut
Many people have a protruding gut due to weak lower tummy muscles. It is common for these muscles to be weak due to tight hip flexors, and sometimes tight lower back muscles as with anterior pelvic tilt.
Need to – stretch hip flexors and strengthen lower tummy muscles
5. Tight Hamstrings
The hamstrings are the large muscles on the upper back of your legs. When seated these muscles are tightened. Tight hamstrings can lead to muscle strains and pulls, also knee pain as discussed below.
Need to – stretch hamstrings and strengthen quadricep muscles (upper front leg muscle)
6. Flat Butt
The butt muscle is inactive in a seated position so it can weaken over time. This means movements which require the butt muscle to work become more difficult, such as climbing stairs or rising from a seated position. Extra stress can be placed on the lower back and hamstrings to do the work of the weak butt, which can lead to injury and pain.
Need to – strengthen your butt through exercises like lunges, squats, and deadlifts.
7. Knee Pain
Tight hamstring and calf muscles put pressure on the knee, and weak quadricep muscles can cause the knee to track out of alignment. This can lead to knee injury and instability.
Need to – stretch hamstrings, calf muscles, and strengthen quadricep muscles.
- Check your office ergonomics to make sure it supports your posture.
- Swap your office chair for a stability ball.
- Incorporate more movement during the day. A good aim is to get up from your desk and move around at least once an hour.
- Work at strengthening your weak muscles, and stretching the tight ones, creating more muscular balance.
- Have monthly deep tissue massages if you have chronic pain from tight or tense muscles.