Sitting for prolonged periods of time in any one position can cause back pain and stiffness. So if you find yourself feeling tight and stiff after a day at the office, then you’re not alone!
Research shows that moving and exercising is probably the best thing you can do to prevent back pain associated with sitting in the same position for a long time at work.
This is kind of a no-brainer, but for a lot of people it can often be very hard to find the time to do. Thankfully, short bouts of physical activity can also be very effective in preventing (and improving) lower back pain.
The cobra (prone press up) is a good stretch to do, as it helps to stretch the muscles on the front of your body and extends the spine, which is the opposite of what many people’s bodies do while sitting at desks.
While stretching may be helpful to relieve lower back pain, it can be even more beneficial to also do strengthening exercises for the lower back (and the body in general).
If you find the motivation and time to include some effective strengthening exercises, the front plank is a very good one to do at work as you don’t need a lot of time or any equipment. Here in the Reach office, we gather in a meeting room at 2pm every day and rotate between front planks and side planks. It’s a good break from work and can be a fun team-building exercise as well!
Some other strengthening exercises include back extensions and the superman, where you lay on your stomach and lift your head, arms, and legs off the floor. Squats are also a good exercise for both back and lower body strengthening; you could even consider a “squat challenge” of some sort with your coworkers to get you motivated and make it easier to stick to it! Just remember to build it up slowly, and don’t do too much, too fast.
Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing is that you do some kind of physical activity and movement during the day at work, so choose an activity that you find the easiest to do and that you enjoy the most. If it’s easier for you to stretch than strengthen, it’s perfectly okay to do that, and visa versa!