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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 February 18, 2019

                13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

                Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

                Why is this so critically important to you?

                The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

                Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

                1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

                Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

                When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

                • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
                • The man facing the judge.
                • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
                • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
                • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
                • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

                These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

                Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

                Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

                2. Accept Your Fear

                Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

                We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

                And here’s what can be done.

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                3. Get Some Perspective

                I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

                And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

                That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

                We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

                So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

                • Are you really at risk?
                • Will this kill you?
                • Which leads us on to..
                • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

                4. Hold a Hand

                As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

                Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

                We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

                Ask yourself:

                • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
                • Could that really happen?
                • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
                • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

                By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

                5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

                This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

                Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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                The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

                It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

                For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

                Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

                6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

                I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

                Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

                Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

                Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

                Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

                Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

                7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

                Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

                I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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                It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

                One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

                Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

                It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

                8. Assume the Worse

                If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

                Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

                • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
                • Think about how they feel about champagne?
                • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

                And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

                When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

                Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

                9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

                If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

                Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

                Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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                10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

                One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

                11. Go with Fear

                When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

                I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

                Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

                One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

                However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

                We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

                12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

                And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

                The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

                What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

                13. Own Your Fear

                Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

                We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

                You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

                More Resources About Fighting Fear

                Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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