Many of us have desk-bound office jobs that see us sitting in the same position for hours on end. Usually, this position is hunched over a keyboard and leaning forward slightly to peer at a computer screen. Unfortunately, this poor posture can have serious long term impacts on the curvature of our spine, which can lead to chronic back and neck pain, and if left untreated for a long enough period of time, can even lead to permanent damage.
The good news though, is that there’s a simple fix. Simply taking periodic breaks to stretch and move around will help offset the impacts of sitting in that position. You don’t have to take a stretch break every hour, but taking at least a couple a day, even if they’re only a few minutes in duration will go a long way toward relieving tensed and cramped muscles, improving blood flow, and correcting posture.
If you are able, take it to the next level and get up and move. Stretching at the desk is all well and good, but the more you can move during the course of day (especially if you have a desk job), the stronger the impacts will be.
The biggest danger here, is that by not taking these kinds of “mobility breaks,” you run the risk of muscle cramping and atrophy in the shorter term, and spinal misalignments in the longer, as your back begins to adjust to the “new normal” that is your hunched over sitting position. While these problems can be corrected even if they’ve been ongoing for years, the process of doing so will be longer, and more uncomfortable, possibly even downright painful, until your back has shifted back into its original, natural position and configuration.
While the notion of taking periodic stretch breaks sounds too simplistic to have any meaningful impact, you’d be amazed at the difference they can make. Starting today, try it for yourself and see. You’ll be glad you did.