Stand, stretch, move with Jamie Broadley, staff wellbeing lead
How would you feel if I described you as an athlete? Well the reality is that you are! We all have to perform athletic activities day to day at work, whether it be moving a patient, carrying heavy bags or simply taking some paper to the printer.
Yet, whilst athletes spend huge amounts of time preparing themselves physically for movement, we, due to the time pressures we all face, are much more ‘get up and go’! Unfortunately this can mean that we are more at risk when it comes to injuring ourselves, something which we obviously want to prevent.
To help with this we have pulled together the expertise from our physios, manual handlers and health and safety team to look at how we can get ourselves ready for action and physically fit for work in as little time as possible. We’re calling it ‘stand, stretch, move’ and are excited to introduce the basics with you here.
When we do stand up the effects of spending a long time sitting, either in the office or driving, can really show itself. Our shoulders hunch and our head sticks forward, our hips are tight and lower back arches excessively. All of this puts us in a poor position for moving and also makes us feel a bit rubbish!
Luckily there’s a simple three step fix; keep your feet nice and straight, rather than pointing out to the side, ‘tuck’ your hips under, giving your bum a squeeze to activate your bum muscles and finally, imagine putting your shoulder blades in your back pockets, i.e. back and down.
Being in any fixed position for a long time tightens up our muscles and joints which can affect our mobility and make us vulnerable to injury. Luckily there are some really simple stretches, pictured here, which you can do in your work clothes, without any rolling around on the floor!
The wall chest stretch will ease the pec muscles which become tight from typing or driving, the back arch helps correct the hunched position we often end up in whilst sitting, the back twist will help mobilise your lower back which can become stiff from sitting and the hip flexor stretch does the same but for your hips.
We all know that we probably need to move a little bit more but it can be difficult to find the space in the day, especially if we are rushing between meetings or patients. Luckily there are some simple tricks to help build a little bit more movement into the day. These don’t just benefit you physically but also psychologically, moving can help us reduce stress, think more creatively and get things done faster. If you have a phone call to make then get up and walk around whilst doing so, if you need to catch up with a colleague then try a walking meeting, if you have five minutes between appointments then take a short stroll, you could even look at incorporating a few simple bodyweight exercises whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, such as lunges or air squats. Every little helps!
Obviously take care when starting any new exercises and if you have existing medical conditions or injuries, speak to a physio or your GP if you’re unsure.
So in summary, it’s time we all started thinking like athletes because we are athletes! We have physical jobs so need to ensure we are fit for them. Hopefully my advice has given you some quick tips and tricks for building some mobility and movement into your day.