This article goes out to all of you doing amazing and important work out there who happen to do a majority of that work at a desk. We all know the stereotype of the person in their office leaning over a keyboard with a hunched back and shoulders rolled forward. They sit like that for 8 hours a day, week after week, and year after year. Obviously that can’t be good for them, and you already know that.
This stereotype implies a mostly inactive lifestyle and associated health issues, which by joining CrossFit you are mostly eliminating. That’s seriously awesome. Nice! But, you’re not all clear yet. There are still possible consequences on your muscular and skeletal system (aka mobility), which you probably notice much more now that you’re so active. The overhead squat is so challenging for most of us because it brings out all of our mobility limitations, especially the ones caused by this stereotypical office life.
If you’re curious about how you can counteract those negative effects, I highly recommend the book Deskbound by Dr. Kelly Starrett. Kelly is mobility guru who changed the game, especially in the CrossFit world, and is responsible for many of the mobility techniques we see in gyms all over the world. Just in case you are pinched for time or don’t like reading, I’ll give you the big takeaways now.
Kelly gives 4 major keys for deskbound individuals, which are simple things for any of us to implement. I’ll do my best to summarize below:
Reduce Optional Sitting
- Certain things in your day have to be done sitting, like driving to work or flying in a plane. Most of the other sitting is negotiable.
- If you can get a standing desk, that’s great. If you can’t, you can pretty easily stack some boxes on your desk to get your screen to standing height.
- Consider a walking meeting instead of sitting in a conference room. Steve Jobs is known for doing this.
Move 2 Minutes for Every 30 at Your Desk
- Don’t stay down for too long in a row. Set a timer if you need to. While sitting isn’t awesome, being stagnant is worse.
- Take a walk or bust out a few air squats in the office. The squats might look weird, but you’ll feel better after.
- Change positions frequently and allow your legs to fidget. Sit, stand, kneel, lunge, “man-spread”, cross your legs, Captain Morgan pose, etc. are all good options.
Make Position and Mechanics a Priority
- Think of how much you focus on a nice straight back when we deadlift or squat in the gym. Take that back position and apply it to your office time as much as possible. Every time you feel yourself slouching, take a second to reorganize and get in a good position.
Give Your Body 10-15 minutes of Daily Maintenance
- Spend a few minutes on your problem areas each day. Consistency is key. You can’t get it all done in one day.
- An easy way to fit this time in is to sit on the floor instead of the couch when you’re watching TV. Buddy up with a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or your favorite stretching position. That 10 minutes will be nothing.
For the sake of keeping this short(ish), I’ll leave it at that for now. Keep fighting office warriors! We need you to take care of your bodies so you can keep doing important work in the world.