A good number of Americans either sit down or stand and walk during their work hours. Office workers and others who must sit for their jobs do so for 4-10 hours a day. Retail and service workers stand and/or walk for the same 4-10 hours. Not only that, they also spend a lot of time behind the wheel of a car going to and from work. Although these have different levels of activity, there are several common denominators they must deal with when considering exercise. They also have different elements to consider for exercise programming. Let's consider these issues and how to work with them in exercise.
*NOTE: This is not intended as medical information. Please, consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise plans. This is for informational purposes only.
When someone sits all day for their work hours, there is not enough activity to burn the calories they take consume, but problems crop up when he or she begins exercise. The hip flexors and pectorals are tight causing forward slouching. The gluts and upper back are relaxed and stretched causing shoulder blade wings and outward rotation of the feet from the hips. The abdominals protrude causing a belly pouch and making them seem fatter than they really may be. Repetitive stress damages are usually carpal tunnel syndrome. These effects need addressed in regular exercise programming to help these workers lose weight and prevent damage to the skeletal structure.
When someone is on their feet all day, some of the problems with exercise are quickly recognized. The lower back , hamstrings, and IT band is irritated from constant impact with a hard surface. Feet flatten and widen, sometimes causing the arches to over pronate. Unless someone is constantly lifting, pushing, or pulling something with resistance, the arms, upper back, and abdominals are weak. Depending on the job, there is usually repetitive stress on the same areas of the body daily. Just considering cardiovascular exercise leaves these workers wincing because of their fatigue and pain.
What do they have in common? Stress levels to perform, their bodies remaining in one position the majority of the day, hunched rounded shoulders with the head forward, tightened chest muscles, lack of core strength and control,and repetitive tasks that can cause muscle imbalances and damage to the area of the body overworked. Exercise progamming must consider what people do at work every day in order to avoid overworking muscles while balancing the load on the muscles and joints. How these workers do cardio must be based on health conditions and stresses on different parts of the body.
Problems and Fixes
Poor posture- Work on standing and sitting up by lining up the ears with the shoulders, and the shoulders with the hips. Use a mirror to see how body areas line up.
Exercises: Chin-up/dip, and Reverse Fly
Internally rotated shoulders (thumbs touch hips instead of facing forward in a neutral stance)- I-Y-T-W-O and Lat Pulldown.
Tightened Hamstrings and hip flexors- Stretching these muscles will be key to relieving tension in hips and lower back.
Exercises: Quad Stretches, bird dogs, and lunges.
Low back tightness and pain- stretching the low back and strengthening abs and hips.
Exercises: Little Child stretch and roll-ups, face press-ups, bridges, and happy clams.
Weak wrists- grasping, stretching, and rolling motions.
Exercises: Wrist curls, wrist rotation, wrist stretches.
Externally rotated feet from the hips (Duck feet)- The muscles in the internal portion of the hips have tightened where they connect in to the lumbar-sacro region of the back.
Exercises: Rotation on heel (toes in, toes out), leg crossover stretch, glut activation lunges, side-lying hip abduction.
Belly protrusion- Learning how to pull the belly button up and in is key to all ab exercises.
Exercises: ball pass (feet to hands, hands to feet), face press-ups, Russian twist.
Tightened chest- this happens from either overworking the pecs or from constantly working in a forward, hunched position.
Exercises: Chest Stretch, seated row, reverse fly, lat pulldown.
Forward head protrusion- could cause serious arthritis in neck and puts body in unnatural posture.
Exercise: chin retraction.
Stress reduction and fat burn- adrenalin and cortisol need to stabilize. Calorie burn.
Exercises: Cardiovascular exercise for someone who sits for work should either stand like treadmill or elliptical or go to water aerobics/swimming. Cardiovascular exercise for someone who stands all day should go seated such as a stationary bike or water aerobics/swimming. 30-60 minutes total per day, minimum 10 minutes at a time.
After 60-90 days of incorporating these exercises into your exercise program, you should feel better and stronger.
May God bless you!
Check these out for exercises you can do: