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10 Exercises to Fix Your Desk Jockey Posture

10 Exercises to Fix Your Desk Jockey Posture

Sitting sucks.

We now know for a fact that chronic, prolonged, sitting is horrible for our health. Not only does it create a number of general health problems, it reeks absolute havoc on our posture. Even if you start out sitting in a good posture, sit long enough and the postural muscles will become fatigued.

Once that happens you’re going to start to “slide” into a really awful posture that has come to be known as Desk Jockey Posture. In fact there’s a good chance that you’re in the Desk Jockey Posture right now. Slumped over, shoulders rounded and pulled forward, hands internally rotated, hips rolled forward, low back in a stretched position.

Why is Desk Jockey Posture even a problem?

Because posture is incredibly important, both good and bad. As we sit in “good” posture for a long period of time the postural muscles become tired and we slide into Desk Jockey Posture so we can use the hard structures (the bones) for stability instead of the muscles. Do this enough and the body will change the length tension relationships of the muscles and consequently, the position of the bones in some of the joints will change. When this happens often enough for long enough, you adapt and lock in this new posture. The Desk Jockey Posture will become your new “normal” posture.

Desk Jockey Posture contributes to a number of issues, some of them include:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Elbow pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Upper, Mid and Lower back pain
  • Anterior (front side) hip pain
  • Knee pain

What it comes down to is that this is an awful position to be in, especially when you’re spending hours at a time everyday in that position. But there are some very easy exercises that you can do almost anywhere that can help you “reset” into a more neutral posture.

1. Overhead Warrior Lunge

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3-Overhead-Reverse-Lunge

    Get into a lunge stance with the hips in neutral (belt should be flat). Squeeze the glute on the same side as the leg that’s behind you and press the hip forward. Make sure you keep the ribcage down in neutral and reach overhead trying to pull the ribs apart. Each reach should unlock/ expand the ribcage a bit more. Be sure not to extend from the lower back.

    2. Hip Flexor Stretch

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmec1bQBQOE

    Get into a lunge stance with the hips in neutral and ribcage down. Put pressure in the front heel, squeeze the glute on the stretched (knee on the ground) leg, and press only the hip forward. You can make this more intense by putting the back foot up on a bench, chair, or against a wall.

    3. Chest Stretch

    Chest Stretch Edit

      Stand in a doorway with the shoulders down in the joints. Hold your arms out (they can be bent at the elbow) and lean in keeping the ribcage down. Think about “opening” the chest.

      4. Thoracic Extensions

      These can be done over a foam roller or a hard back chair that comes one half to two-thirds up the back. Sit tall, natural arch in the lower back and chest up. Place the hands behind the head, elbows forward, and reach back over the chair or roller. Don’t just extend the neck/ look up. Keep the chin in a neutral position and extend the ribcage over the chair back or roller. Focus on “opening” the ribs and pulling them apart. The lower back should never move.

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      5. Thoracic Rotations

      Start in a quadruped position:

      • On all fours
      • Hands under shoulders, elbows locked.
      • Knees under the hips
      • Shoulders in the shoulder joint, chest up slightly

      Place one hand behind the head, look at the elbow and rotate through the ribcage. Start elbow to elbow and rotate up as far as you can without moving from the lower back or shifting the ribcage.

      Quick Tip: If the belly button moves/ rotates, you’re moving from the lower back.

      6. Scapula Pinches

      scap pinch_edited

        Sit or preferably stand tall, with the shoulders down. Pinch the shoulder blades together in the back. Hold this fully pinched position for a count of one to five and repeat.

        7. Trap Stretch

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        Trap Stretch_edit2

          Sit tall, with the hips neutral and feet flat in front. Reach a hand up over the head and gently pull the head towards the shoulder. Don’t yank on your head, that could cause injury. The hand isn’t pulling on the head; it’s just assisting gravity a bit. Do this 1–3 times for 30–60 seconds at a time.

          8. Levator Scapula Stretch

          stephlevator

            Set up the same as the Trap Stretch, but instead of facing forward, look at an armpit and gently pull the head in that direction. Again, 1–3 times for 30–60 seconds at a time.

            9. Glute Bridge

            glute bridge

              Lay on your back; bring the feet up so that when the hips are fully extended (up) the knees will be a at ninety degrees. Keep the ribcage down, drive through the heels, sqeeze the glutes HARD and press the hips into full extension. Hold the top, really focusing on a hard squeeze, and return to the starting position.

              A lot of hip and low back pain is the result of weak, underactive glutes, and sitting all day in Desk Jockey Posture essentially shuts your glutes down completely. Simply performing a few glute bridges can not only keep them from shutting down completely, but these may help reset the sacrum and alleviate some hip and lower back pain. Be sure to focus on using the glutes and shutting down the hamstrings.

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              If the two legs is too easy opt for the single leg version.

              single leg glute bridge

                10. Scap Pushups

                Get into a pushup plank position. Maintain this tight line and allow the scapula to move to the midline of the body as the torso falls. At the lowest point press the ground away and the shoulder blades to the outside of the shoulders.Make sure you keep your elbows straight, bending them will create false movement at the elbows and not the shoulders.

                Don’t think that these can be a cure-all. Simply doing these once or twice a day won’t offset 8 hours of sitting in Desk Jockey Posture. You need to me conscious of your posture through the day, continue to stay active, mobile and strong so you can maintain good posture for as long as possible and return to a neutral position easily. These exercises will, however, help to stem the tide of tissue creep and make you feel a bit better, maintain some mobility,open up some tight areas and activate muscles that shut down when we spend to much time being a Desk Jockey.

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                Last Updated on November 9, 2020

                10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                10 Real Reasons Why Breaking Bad Habits Is So Difficult

                Bad habits expose us to suffering that is entirely avoidable. Unfortunately, breaking bad habits is difficult because they are 100% dependent on our mental and emotional state.

                Anything we do that can prove harmful to us is a bad habit – drinking, drugs, smoking, procrastination, poor communication are all examples of bad habits. These habits have negative effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health.

                Humans are hardwired to respond to stimuli and to expect a consequence of any action. This is how habits are acquired: the brain expects to be rewarded a certain way under certain circumstances. How you initially responded to certain stimuli is how your brain will always remind you to behave when the same stimuli are experienced.

                If you visited the bar close to your office with colleagues every Friday, your brain will learn to send you a signal to stop there even when you are alone and eventually not just on Fridays. It will expect the reward of a drink after work every day, which can potentially lead to a drinking problem.

                Kicking negative behavior patterns and steering clear of them requires a lot of willpower, and there are many reasons why breaking bad habits is so difficult.

                1. Lack of Awareness or Acceptance

                Breaking a bad habit is not possible if the person who has it is not aware that it is a bad one.

                Many people will not realize that their communication skills are poor or that their procrastination is affecting them negatively, or even that the drink they had as a nightcap has now increased to three.

                Awareness brings acceptance. Unless a person realizes on their own that a habit is bad, or someone manages to convince them of the same, there is very little chance of the habit being kicked.

                2. No Motivation

                Going through a divorce, not being able to cope with academic pressure, and falling into debt are instances that can bring a profound sense of failure with them. A person going through these times can fall into a cycle of negative thinking where the world is against them and nothing they can do will ever help, so they stop trying altogether.

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                This give-up attitude is a bad habit that just keeps coming around. Being in debt could make you feel like you are failing at maintaining your home, family, and life in general.

                If you are looking to get out of a rut and feel motivated, take a look at this article: Why Is Internal Motivation So Powerful (And How to Find It)

                3. Underlying Psychological Conditions

                Psychological conditions such as depression and ADD can make it difficult to start breaking bad habits.

                A depressed person may find it difficult to summon the energy to cook a healthy meal, resulting in food being ordered in or consumption of packaged foods. This could lead to a habit that adversely affects health and is difficult to overcome.

                A person with ADD may start to clean their house but get distracted soon after, leaving the task incomplete, eventually leading to a state where it is acceptable to live in a house that is untidy and dirty.

                The fear of missing out (FOMO) is very real to some people. Obsessively checking their social media and news sources, they may believe that not knowing of something as soon as it is published can be catastrophic to their social standing.

                4. Bad Habits Make Us Feel Good

                One of the reasons it is difficult to break habits is that a lot of them make us feel good.[1]

                We’ve all been there – the craving for a tub of ice cream after a breakup or a casual drag on a joint, never to be repeated until we miss how good it made us feel. We succumb to the craving for the pleasure felt while indulging in it, cementing it as a habit even while we are aware it isn’t good for us.

                Overeating is a very common bad habit. Just another pack of chips, a couple of candies, a large soda… none of these are necessary for survival. We want them because they give us comfort. They’re familiar, they taste good, and we don’t even notice when we progress from just one extra slice of pizza to four.

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                You can read this article to learn more: We Do What We Know Is Bad for Us, Why?

                5. Upward Comparisons

                Comparisons are a bad habit that many of us have been exposed to since we were children. Parents might have compared us to siblings, teachers may have compared us to classmates, and bosses could compare us to past and present employees.

                The people who have developed the bad habit of comparing themselves to others have been given incorrect yardsticks for measurement from the start.

                These people will always find it difficult to break out of this bad habit because there will always be someone who has it better than they do: a better house, better car, better job, higher income and so on.

                Research shows that in the age of social media, social comparisons are much easier and can ultimately harm self-esteem if scrolling becomes a bad habit[2].

                6. No Alternative

                This is a real and valid reason why breaking bad habits is difficult. These habits could fulfill a need that may not be met any other way.

                Someone who has physical or psychological limitations, such as a disability or social anxiety, may find it hard to quit obsessive content consumption for better habits.

                Alternately, a perfectly healthy person may be unable to quit smoking because alternates are just not working out.

                Similarly, a person who bites their nails when anxious may be unable to relieve stress in any other socially accepted manner.

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                7. Stress

                As mentioned above, anything that stresses us out can lead to adopting and cementing an unhealthy habit.

                When a person is stressed about something, it is easy for bad habits to form because the mental resources required to fight them are not available[3].

                We often see a person who had previously managed to kick a bad habit fall back into the old ways because they felt their stress couldn’t be managed any other way.

                If you need some help reducing stress, check out the following video for some healthy ways to get started:

                8. Sense of Failure

                People looking to kick bad habits may feel a strong sense of failure because it’s just that difficult.

                Dropping a bad habit usually means changes in lifestyle that people may be unwilling to make, or these changes might not be easy to make in spite of the will to make them.

                Overeaters need to empty their house of unhealthy food, resist the urge to order in, and not pick up their standard grocery items from the store. Those who drink too much need to avoid the bars or even people who drink often.

                If such people slip even once with a glass of wine, or a smoke, or a bag of chips, they tend to be excessively harsh on themselves and feel like failures.

                9. The Need to Be All-New

                People who are looking to break bad habits feel they need to re-create themselves in order to break themselves of their bad habits, while the truth is the complete opposite.

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                These people actually need to go back to who they were before they developed the bad habit and try to create good habits from there.

                10. Force of Habit

                Humans are creatures of habit, and having familiar, comforting outcomes for daily triggers helps us maintain a sense of balance in our lives.

                Consider people who are used to lighting up a cigarette every time they talk on the phone or eating junk food when watching TV. They will always associate a phone call with a puff on the cigarette and screen time with eating.

                These habits, though bad, are a source of comfort to them, as is meeting with those people they indulge in these bad habits with.

                Final Thoughts

                These are the main reasons why breaking bad habits is difficult, but the good news is that the task is not impossible. Breaking habits takes time, and you’ll need to put long-term goals in place to replace a bad habit with a good one.

                There are many compassionate, positive and self-loving techniques to kick bad habits. The internet is rich in information regarding bad habits, their effects and how to overcome them, while professional help is always available for those who feel they need it.

                More on Breaking Bad Habits

                Featured photo credit: NORTHFOLK via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] After Skool: Why Do Bad Habits Feel SO GOOD?
                [2] Psychology of Popular Media Culture: Social comparison, social media, and self-esteem.
                [3] Stanford Medicine: Examining how stress affects good and bad habits

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