What are the best exercises to do when you sit at a desk all day? Self-Care Tip Part I: The Chest and Shoulders

Let’s face it…those of you who chose careers that involve sitting at a desk all day have picked probably one of the WORST ways to treat your body on a daily basis. But no fear, here is the secret to correcting this: Self-Care!

Today’s focus for self-care is probably an area that gets treated the worst when sitting at a desk: the chest and shoulders. Why? This area gets affected the most because you are leaning forward (most likely hunching forward) into your computer. It’s great that you have so much focus, but what’s not so great is that you are collapsing your chest in and over stretching your shoulders (AKA the rhomboids-the muscles between your spine and shoulders). There are a few other problems going on with this picture as well, but for today our focus is the chest and shoulders (we will address the other parts another other time).

So, what to do? Our first suggestion is to follow this video showing a short exercise you can do at work or at home. The main goal is to strengthen the rhomboids, and give the pectoral muscles a break! Kaytlin quickly shows you how to do this here:

-Using a theraband or resistance band, make sure you have a weight that attaches to the middle of the band so you can insert it into a door frame. Once inserted (the exact middle of the band), back away from the door to the point where the band is taught (not too taught, you still need some room to pull it to its full capacity). From here stand with feet about hip distance apart, then arms stretch out straight in front of the chest, with hands distanced about shoulder length apart. Then pull the band towards your chest until your arms reach a 90 degree angle. You really want to feel your rhomboids doing all the work here; sometimes it helps to visualize energy or heat forming at this spot. Make sure to breathe while you are doing this! Begin with a lighter band, building up to a stronger resistance over time. Start doing this about 2-5 minutes a day, maybe starting every other day, then eventually building to 5 minutes a day, every day. You will definitely start to notice a difference after about two weeks! You’ll start to feel less pain in your neck and shoulders, as well as more space in your chest area.

Other things you can do in addition to this exercise include:

  1. Using a standup desk
  2. Taking a walking break at least once an hour
  3. Going to a yoga class at least 2 times a week that focuses on opening up & strengthening the upper body
  4. Get a massaged

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