By Brian White | You Should Be Doing It
Desk jobs are killing us — we know that; but they are not going anywhere. So we need to figure out how to keep our body supple and vibrant to offset the tightness in the lower back, hips, hamstrings, neck and shoulders.
Follow this sequence first thing in the morning to feel your best each day and gradually reinvigorate your body. Some of these exercises may be familiar, but if not you can look them up on YouTube (they are all there to see the demonstrations).
• Cat/cow — 15 of each
This stretch improves mobility across the entire spine. The lumbar spine becomes compressed by sitting for long periods, and the thoracic spine becomes rounded from leaning forward looking at a computer screen. This exercise can strengthen the muscles as well as counteract an overly rounded back.
• Seated piriformis stretch — 30 seconds each glute
This stretch will alleviate tightness in the mid-glute area that you didn’t even know you had. This tightness can contribute to low back pain and sciatica. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and you sprinkle in runs or workouts too, this stretch will help alleviate knee pain and some injuries.
• Groin stretch — 45 seconds
There are many ways to stretch the groin — my favorite is lying down with the soles of your feet together and just allow gravity to gently stretch your adductors. Again these muscles become tight from sitting around too much and can result in low back pain and knee pain.
• Downward dog/cobra — five to seven
This yoga movement provides a great stretch for the hamstrings and abdominals. Hold each position for 10 – 15 seconds and switch back forth five to seven times.
• Lateral lunge — alternating 12 to each side
This is exercise is a variation of the traditional lunge that involves stepping side to side. We don’t do enough lateral movements and this is a great one that targets the glutes, hamstrings and inner thigh muscles.
• Chest openers – 25 reps
This is a great exercise to open up the chest muscles, strengthen the mid-back muscles and it will help offset the forward posture we get from sitting in front of a computer. Do these in a standing posture or you can perform them seated on the edge of a chair. Keep arms straight and palms out and really squeeze between the shoulder blades on each rep.
After whipping through this circuit in about six minutes, you should feel a rush of energy and your body will be ready for the rigors of the day. This routine will help make each day a success by getting your body and mind right before you head out the door.
Create habits like this throughout the day and you’ll be well on your way to creating the momentum you need to conquer all of your fitness goals!
—Brian White owns Brian White Fitness (BWF), located in Hillcrest. He runs boot camps in Balboa Park and trains clients at Diverge Gym. Read his blog at youshouldbedoingit.com, or take his seven-day video challenge to get back into healthy habits. Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org.