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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 August 20, 2019

                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

                Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

                I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                1. The Inner Critic

                This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

                • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                2. The Worrier

                This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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                This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                4. The Sleep Depriver

                This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

                • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                How can you control these squatters?

                How to Master Your Mind

                You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                For the Inner Critic

                When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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                “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                • They rile up the Worrier.
                • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

                Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                For the Worrier

                Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                • Muscles tense

                Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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                For example:

                If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                • Muscles tension

                I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                Breathe in through your nose:

                • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                • Focus on your belly rising.

                Breathe out through your nose:

                • Feel your lungs emptying.
                • Focus on your belly falling.
                • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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                Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                For the Sleep Depriver

                (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                • Shut down your thinking.
                • Calm your feelings.
                • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                The Bottom Line

                Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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                Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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