If you’ve got a desk job, it’s definitely worthwhile knowing a few exercises to counter sitting all day.
Watch the video below or keep reading and we’ll go through some strength exercises and why you don’t just want to stretch.
Are you stretching a stretch?
You may have been given stretches for the neck in the past, which could be a variation of the one in the photo, where you’re turning the head and using your hand to pull into the stretch.
Why stretch what’s already stretched?
When you’re sitting, you’ll likely to be in a hunched position, pokey-chin position (the photo is showing this). Ideally, you want to be upright, with the back straight, neck long with the chin tucked in. If sitting upright is the preferred position, sitting hunched is already putting the neck and shoulders on stretch. Why then would you want to stretch this?
Strengthening the neck will help counter sitting all-day
Don’t get us wrong, there are definitely times where the stretching discussed above is very much needed. However, in the majority of cases, you want to strengthen the neck muscles. If you can strengthen these muscles, then the neck will be long, the chin will be tucked in and keeping the head and neck in a more comfortable position.
First – You’ll need to know the basics of the movement for each variation:
The movement you want is a chin tuck. Don’t look up or down, keep your eyes horizontal. Imagine something is going to chop your nose off, so you want to tuck the head and chin backwards. It’s a very simple movement, albeit a small movement.
Lay on the floor or on a foam roller (one of the longer rollers). Lay with the roller down the spine, with your head and low back supported (knees bent and feet flat for stability). Gently push the back of your head into the roller and feel the neck muscles working.
Hold 5 seconds, repeat 4-5 times (for 1 set). Repeat 2-3 sets.
Sat down e.g. in a car, using the head rest for resistance (passenger seat of course, not while you’re driving). Push the back of your head gently inthe head rest and hold for 5 seconds.
If you don’t have a car, you can choose to use a rolled-up towel, cushion or pillow and put it against the wall. Place the towel behind your head, keep your feet in front of you for leverage. Push the back of your head into the towel
Hold 5 seconds, repeat 4-5 times (1 set). Repeat 2-3 sets.
If you’ve got a theraband (or stretchy band), loop it around your head and put it on stretch. Push your head back against the resistance and hold for 5 seconds, before easing the head forwards for a rest.
Hold 5 secconds, repeat 4-5 times (1 set). Repeat 2-3 sets.
Aim for 6-weeks
You want to keep doing the exercises for at least 6 weeks. Try any of the above variations we’ve gone through, pick a 6-week deadline, mark it in your diary. Monitor how you’re doing, it doesn’t have to be every day, but you do want some consistency and then see how you’re feeling at the end of the six weeks.
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Remember – Listen to your Body!
Please remember to listen to your body. Get any aches and pains checked out sooner rather than later.
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