Jobs which involve sitting at a desk all day or driving are likely to have a detrimental effect on our health unless we counter the lack of movement with corrective exercise.
Well-designed work stations go a long way too help but the bottom is that you are still glued to the desk for hours on end, often sitting with the spine rotating regularly one way. Much will depend on how you sit, far too many of us slouch which causes postural strain. Having personally suffered with low back pain, I know how debilitating it feels and effects your whole physical and mental wellbeing.
My previous career in Financial Services involved sitting at a desk for long periods of time. I was naturally a very active person and enjoyed training at the gym up to 3 times a week, however I still experienced occasional back pain and I didn’t know why. There was a period when it got really bad and I went to see my GP. He referred me to the hospital to have some Physiotherapy. The treatment definitely helped to ease the pain but it didn’t stop the pain returning. The problem got worse during pregnancy with my daughter and my employer bought me a special chair. The chair helped to make sitting at my desk a little more comfortable but the problem only got worse as my bump got bigger. In the end, I had no choice but to leave work on maternity leave a lot sooner than I had planned. It was at this point that I discovered Pregnancy Pilates. The exercises helped to ease the pain during my third trimester and the greatest thing to happen was that when I continued to practise the exercises after childbirth my back pain never returned. I was more aware of the way I was standing, sitting and people started to comment that I had good posture.
The end result of sitting badly all day is that you will end up with muscle imbalances, misuse and faulty recruitment patterns that contribute to causing low back pain.
The Hamstring are a group of three muscles at the back of thigh. The Hamstrings flex and bend the knee. When we spend a lot of time sitting the hamstrings don’t get the natural stretching they need. They can become tight as they substitute for weak gluteal muscles (the muscles in the buttocks).
If your hamstrings are too tight, they will greatly restrict your flexibility and increase the risk of damage to the lumbar spine (low back) in everyday forward bending and sport. The stretch in this week’s video series will help to stretch the Hamstrings.