What is the proper posture for sitting at a desk all day?

Desk Stretch


Sometimes it can surprise us how the smallest things in life can actually affect our health. Small things like wearing a heavy bag on the same shoulder every day, or the terrible posture you have from work, but so desperately want to get rid of. That’s right… it all adds up.

Today we’ll be going over the importance of exercising in the workplace and how it can help your shoulder pain. The reason why I’m writing about the workplace is that not many people realize how much time they actually spend at work.

Imagine if you have an office job, or if you actually DO have an office job, think of all those hours you spend sitting down, not moving, and potentially developing poor posture. It’s no wonder you have shoulder pain!

That’s why it’s important to exercise at work and to keep moving as much as possible. Having only 5 weeks a year away from work can take its toll on your body. This truly shows how long you’re working and how it can affect your health.

With that in mind, here are a few tips that are handy to use to ease that shoulder pain:

Yoga before and after work is a MUST to stretch away those potential aches and pains that reside in your muscles. It’s ideal to do yoga in the morning as you have been sleeping in the same position for hours and will continue to be stationary at work later in the day.

After work is just as important. Doing yoga after work will stretch your muscles after sitting for so long! Not only this but it will leave you feeling a lot calmer and stress-free. If you decide to do yoga before bed, this is just as good for you because it will help you fall asleep a lot quicker.

Get some fresh air on your lunch break. This is something I tell my staff to do all the time. Not only is a change of scenery healthy for the mind, but it also gets you up and moving. Even if it’s just a walk to a park bench, it’s better than nothing.

watch this video to see how your posture should be at a desk. Click here.

If you’re lucky enough to have an hour for your lunch break, then why not try to go for a brisk walk? This will ease your muscles further from any pain.

If you do decide to do this, then I would recommend leaving your bag in the office (but bring along a water bottle in this AZ heat!). The reason for this is that if you carry your bag over your shoulder, you’ll be placing more pressure on one of your shoulders, leaving you with more shoulder pain to go back to your desk with.

Don’t forget to move around at least once within an hour. I’m not saying you need to sprint to one end of the office and back! It could be as simple as walking to the bathroom or even standing up and walking to your coworker’s desk to see how they’re doing.

It doesn’t even have to be for very long, just as long as you’ve stood up and had a few steps.

If your shoulder pain still hasn’t eased during lunch, but the yoga in the morning worked… then here are a few exercises that you can try doing at your desk to increase posture:

Desk Angels

Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Right, so here’s how you do them…

  • Sit straight in your chair, raise your arms straight up like you’re trying to touch the ceiling.
  • Keep your body still, (it’ll be harder than you anticipate) and pull your arms down like you’re putting on a shirt, all while keeping your elbows back.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Shoulder Rolls:

This one is probably the most common out of the exercises.

  • Keep your back straight and chin tucked in.
  • Roll your shoulders forward 10 times and then repeat backward.

Armpit Stretch:

This one is probably the most difficult, in the sense that it’s difficult to feel/ notice the stretch. When you do feel it, you’ll know! This exercise targets the muscle near the shoulder blade. I also advise that it might be best to do this one when you’re on your own in the office, as you might look like you’re sniffing your armpit! Here it is:

  • Sit with your back straight and rotate your head sideways so that your nose is directly above your armpit.
  • Hold your head with your hand and gently use it to push your nose closer to your armpit.
  • Hold for ten seconds and repeat twice on each side.

So now that you realize how long you actually spend at work and potentially in an office chair, it’s clear to see the importance of exercise in the workplace.

Shoulder pain can often come from poor posture in the workplace. Remember, the hours that you work to build up and so does the pressure and pain in your shoulders!

If you already have or are about to retire, then these exercises can still be done at home. I would still recommend using these tips to ease any shoulder pain you may have.

So give these tips a try and start feeling the benefits quicker! If you’d like more quick tips like this to help ease shoulder pain, click the button below to download my free tips guide instantly:

Nick Hunter, PT, DPT

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