Many people spend a large part of their working day sitting in the office. Often, the effects of this are already felt in the evening: the back usually hurts a little, but headaches can also occur. However, sitting for too long not only causes short-term discomfort but can also have a long-term effect on health – chronic back pain is often the consequence. Fortunately, you can strengthen your muscles with a few simple exercises and counteract the pain. But which exercises are particularly effective and what else should you pay attention to in your daily work routine?
The right posture
The posture you adopt at your desk is particularly important for preventing back pain. One often hears about “the” perfect posture, which is why people often try to adopt this posture over a long period of time. However, this is exactly the wrong behavior: If you stay in one position for too long, you are not doing your body any good. It doesn’t matter how perfect the sitting posture is. Instead, you should change positions as often as possible. This also prepares you perfectly for various exercises, because your muscles are not so tense.
Suitable office furniture
The choice of office furniture has a great influence on how ergonomically you can work at your desk. That’s why more and more companies are opting to place particular emphasis on high-quality desks and office chairs. The so-called standing desk is the most popular choice. This is a height-adjustable desk that also allows you to work while standing, making it an excellent choice for avoiding pain.
Avoiding pain with the right exercises
If you pay attention to good posture and work at an ergonomic workstation, you’ve already done a lot for your back. However, you can avoid back pain even better by performing a few suitable exercises. These can easily be done during a short break in the office, so they can be integrated into any daily routine:
- Plank. The plank is a classic way to strengthen the muscles in the trunk. This is particularly important to ensure sufficient stability in everyday office life. In the plank, you support yourself on your forearms and the tops of your feet as if you were doing press-ups. However, you do not bring your chest to the floor, but remain in this position for 30 to 45 seconds and tense your abdomen.
- Side planks. Side planks basically work like the classic Plank, but you do them in a side position. This allows you to target many muscles with just one exercise – for example, the chest and thighs. It is best to alternate the left and right sides.
- Pelvic lift. When lifting the pelvis, lie on your back and pull your legs together. Then lift the pelvis slowly and in a controlled manner. Perform this movement for about 45 seconds. This exercise also trains the trunk and especially the gluteal muscles.
- Smaller exercises. Smaller exercises can be used to counteract acute pain even while working. If you circle your shoulders for 30 seconds, stretch your neck and shoulders, and twist your back, you can effectively loosen your muscles while sitting in your office chair.
Following a few general pieces of advice and setting up your workstation as ergonomically as possible will significantly minimize the risk of back pain. In addition, you should actively strengthen your muscles by doing a few exercises. If you already suffer from back pain, this can alleviate it within a very short time.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.