Top tips to ‘unwind’ from your seated position
01 Aug 2018
Nat’s top tips to ‘unwind’ from your seated position
With Dr Nathalie Sebagg, Osteopath
We spend so much of our day sitting in the car or at our desk. After all that sitting, you come home needing to unwind and put your feet up. This ‘unwinding’, usually involves reclining on a soft couch with your feet up. However this can actually further ‘wind up’ your already tight tissues.
The natural gravitational forces acting on your body especially while in a cramped seated position not only impacts your spine and skeletal muscles but also your diaphragm, gut and fluids circulating through your body. With everything all ‘wound up’, it can also impact your ability to concentrate and be productive.
So, in order to minimise these ‘winding up’ compressive forces, it’s always a good idea to give your tissues and fluids a rest and some space to move, breathe and decompress.
Here are some quick tips to help you ‘unwind’.
1. Every 30-45 min take a quick break from your computer.
I like doing a spinal roll (take a deep breath in, tuck your chin to your chest and slowly breathe out as you controllably roll down through your spine, just as far as you can with comfortable range. On the breath in, you slowly roll back up, with your head and neck coming up last). Do it once or twice.
Even setting a little reminder on your phone or computer every 30-45min is helpful.
2. Every 60-90 minutes make your ‘unwinding break’ a little longer.
Grab a glass of water, take a toilet break or walk to a colleague instead of sending an email. Squeeze in a walk, no matter how brief, as often as you can. Get off a tram stop early, walk in your lunch break, walk up the stairs at work or at the train station.
3. Drink plenty of water!
Have a glass or BPA free bottle with you. Add your own flavour – a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange juice, fresh mint leaves or slices of ginger. Herbal teas are also another way of helping with hydration.
4. Unwind when you get home
Before lounging on the couch to watch your favourite TV show, a good way to decompress is lying on the floor with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Take a few deeps breaths. You could even gently let the knees fall out to the side on the breath out and bring them back to centre on the breath in. Repeat on the other side.
Another little thing I enjoy doing after being on my feet all day is ‘legs up the wall’. Find a comfy spot on the floor, near a wall. Lie on your side (almost like fetal position) so your bottom is almost touching the wall. Then roll onto your back with your legs literally up the wall. You can adjust leg positions to whatever feels best (legs straight up, knees bent, legs hip width or wider). Just a minute or 2 and you’ll see it does wonders.
NB: If any of these tips aggravate any pre-existing conditions or cause undue discomfort, please stop immediately and consult your appropriate health care practitioner.
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