You know that feeling of sitting at the computer for too long? Your eyes glaze over. Your brain becomes mush and you get sleepy. Believe it or not, there is a way to change that feeling instantly.
Today, Rose Murtagh, the owner of movin' on 2 wellness in LIhue, (where I just so happen to share space with her) is sharing an energizing, mood-boosting movement sequence that you can do right now!
As a bonus you’ll learn some of the reasons why we get that computer daze in the first place. Surprisingly it’s not necessarily what we’re doing but what we’re NOT doing that is the culprit.
A few things that make Rose unique: She is a Physical Therapist, has a Master of Public Health Degree and is an ACE certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach. Not only can you find Rose training clients in her studio and working as a PT in the hospital, but she also goes out in the Kauai community and speaks about the importance of health, wellness and movement.
Enjoy! Mahalo to Rose for sharing.
By Rose Murtagh, PT, MPH, ACE-CPT, CHC
Our bodies are designed to move. The rhythmic muscle contractions of movement increase blood flow to circulate nutrients and oxygen, and removes waste from our tissues and organs. Movement also cleanses and lubricates our joints.
When we have little or no movement over a period of time this circulation, cleansing and lubrication is slowed. We feel stiff and tired.
Today’s lifestyle causes us to be less active than prior generations. We sit to drive, sit at the computer, sit in front of the television. We phone, text or email rather than get up to walk and talk to someone.
Typical activities throughout our days promote a posture of forward head and shoulders, and we are probably slouched. We reach forward to eat, to drive, to use the computer. We are looking down to cook or prepare meals, wash dishes and to text, email, or otherwise use a smartphone or tablet.
This consistent posturing promotes shortening of the muscles in the front of the body – hip flexors, abdominals and pecs. The hamstrings shorten when sitting, and a forward head position tightens the muscles in back of the neck.
The opposing muscles, especially the gluteals and postural muscles of the upper back and shoulders, become lengthened and weak.
Are ya feelin’ it? Starting to sit up a bit straighter? Did you just **gasp** stand up? J
Let’s do it! Get up and try these simple exercises now to add movement to your day!
Get up off your chair every 20-30 minutes.
Just 30-60 seconds will do you good. You don’t even have to walk away from your desk – though that is a great idea to do every hour! Choose 2 or more of the following exercises to do each time you stand up.
1. Calf raises – with feet hip width apart, knees unlocked, rise up on your toes, hesitate, and slowly lower down. Repeat 10 times. (Also great to do when you are on the phone or standing in a line!)
2. Sit to stands, squats or lunges (choose one)
- Sit to stands: Place your chair against the wall or heavy furniture if it is on wheels. Sit at the edge of the chair, feet firmly on the ground, back straight, core engaged and eyes level. Tighten the okole (Hawaiian for “butt”), push through your heels and stand up straight. Remember - gluteals are your turbo boost! Return slowly to sitting at the edge of the chair, keeping your back straight and eyes level. Repeat 5-10 times, or do 2-3 every time you get up from your chair.
- Squats: If you can’t use your chair you can do squats. You may place your feet a bit wider than your hips. Keep your back straight, core engaged and eyes level. Slowly lower yourself to a squat position, keeping knees over heels, bending only to 90 degrees of knee flexion. Remember to use your turbo boost and to push through your heels to return to standing. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Lunges: From a standing position step back with one leg as you bend your front leg to slowly lower yourself, keeping your knee over your heel, bending only to 90 degrees of knee flexion. Your back knee may touch down to the floor. Pushing through the heel of your front leg, engage the turbo boost and return to standing. You may repeat 5 times on each leg or alternate legs for a total of 10.
3. Shoulder rolls – standing, roll your shoulders in a “D” pattern – up, back and down. Visualize drawing your shoulder blades back and down into your back pockets. Repeat 10 times. When you finish, try to keep your shoulder blades in your back pockets. This is a great position to be in when sitting and whenever you are about to reach or to lift or carry anything.
4. Back extensions - Standing with feet hip width apart, knees unlocked and hands on hips for support, lengthen spine and slowly bend back as far as is comfortable. Return to upright standing. Repeat 5-10 times.
Doing these exercises will work your postural muscles and open your hips and chest, relieving the stress to the posterior chain (glutes and back) that leads to poor posture and injuries to the spine, shoulders and hips.
Feeling better? Re-energized? Please leave a comment to let us know how it felt to get up and move!