Between hours of sitting at our desks, in the car, and on the couch binging entire seasons of shows, sitting has become as much of a pandemic as COVID.
When your body is in a position over and over again for long periods of time, your muscles and connective tissue start to stiffen. This often results in pain, achiness, and a feeling of “heaviness”. Combine sitting with consistent feelings of stress and your muscles could be tightening twice as fast! Feeling aches and pains can distract from your productivity and from cultivating a focused, positive mindset throughout your work day. The most common ailments that tend to pop up from excessive sitting are low back pain and neck pain.
The good news is with a few simple moves on a foam roller, you can reverse these sensations! After sitting at your desk today, give these three moves a go to help unwind tension and reduce your pain.
Lay on the roller with your upper thighs making contact and your forearms holding you up like a plank. Roll back and forth to find a tender, tight area and then stay on that spot. Next, slowly bend back your heels (see picture) and straighten them out ten times. Move slowly and breathe deeply!
Adjust the foam roller to rest on one side of your chest, tucking it inside of your shoulder bone as much as possible. It should feel like you are on a muscle! If it feels sharp, you are likely on the shoulder bone and would want to tuck the roller in towards your chest more. Start with your arm bent at the elbow and slightly off the floor. Sink into that chest spot, breath fully, and slowly move your arm up over your head and back down five times. Then switch to the other side.
Lie back on the roller where it hits the bottom of your shoulder blades. Place your hands behind your head to support the weight of your head. Breathe in deep and when you exhale, slowly let your upper body fall towards the floor. You will feel the stretch opening up your chest. Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. I recommend repeating the same movement four more times.
These moves will open up your hips, chest, and spine and help you erase the time you spend in your chair. By gently compressing and moving areas of tension with a foam roller, you can help rehydrate your body, improve blood flow, and calm your nervous system so you can feel more calm, focused, and refreshed!
Want a full routine for unwinding tension from your workday? Head to movementbyjulia.com for a free 15 min “Counteract Your Sitting” routine.