Do you suffer from low back pain?
Do you have tight hips and hamstrings?
Could your posture be a little bit better?
If you’re like most people, 80% of adults, than you answered ‘yes’ to one if not all three of these questions.
What about the answers to the following 3 questions?
Do you sit at at a desk either at work or at school for the majority of the day?
Do you spend the majority of your day driving?
Do you spend a number of hours each day at your computer?
If you answered ‘yes’ to the first set of questions I’m guessing you also found a ‘yes’ in the last set of 3 as well.
So what does that mean?
Well it tells us that that hamstring length, posture and hip mobility are all related to the health of our backs specifically the lumbar spine. And it tells us there are probably activities you do during the day which exacerbate the problem.
‘But I drive or work at a desk for a living and can’t just quit doing these things’.
That’s totally understandable. And also not what I’m asking you to do.
Because here’s the thing.
I spend I large part of my day at the computer as well. I write programs. I produce blog posts for two different sites of my own and contribute to many others. And I produce online products.
So what is it that I do differently that prevents me from experiencing the back pain that afflicts so many?
The key is that I change my position. Constantly.
If I start seated at the table I will set a timer to change positions every 20 minutes. As I work in the room off from our kitchen it is very easy to set the timer on the microwave to remind me to change positions.
After being seated for 20 minutes I will change to:
tall kneeling – feet behind me, neutral pelvis, chest tall, shoulders down and back, contracting the glutes
tall kneeling with leg out to the side – a great stretch for the internal hip of the straightened leg
1/2 kneeling – a great stretch for the front of the hip while working the glute of the down knee
standing – allows you to stretch both hamstrings and open up the hips
With all of these positions you want to make sure to use optimal posture. For kneeling this means knees under hips, neutral pelvis, glutes engaged, chest tall and head neutral.
I kneel on an airex pad but you can use any type of cushioning from a towel, an exercise mat or a pillow.
When you first start out with these positions you’ll find it fatiguing and may need to change positions more quickly than 20 minutes. As well, feel free when in these positions to move around. For example from a tall kneeling position sink the hips back to the heels and then come back up tall again.
Give these positions a try the next time you are stuck at your computer for hours on end. You’ll find you’ll:
* strengthen your glutes
* improve your posture
* improve your back pain
Plus with all of the above benefits you’ll be more focussed, feel less strain and be more productive.
The other cool thing about it is that you can quickly slide the airex under your desk when you have a meeting and sit in your chair again.
If you’re still interested in reading about how sitting is bad for your health check out the following article passed along compliments of Jen C.
Let me know what you think about these tips. If we get 8 or more comments I’ll do a future post on tips for drivers.
Chris okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’