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Maintaining Muscular Health

Are you feeling those aches & pains after a long day at the desk? We caught up with GP, Dr Nicola Butler, to discuss ways in which we can improve our muscular health whilst still getting the job done!

Looking after your physical and mental health should be one of your top priorities, Dr Butler explains. Our bodies are meant to be active, and our minds open and engaged with the environment around us. We were never meant to sit for 8hrs plus a day, stressed and hunched over a desk.  Our bodies can easily suffer and be the scapegoat if we’re not careful.

So how can we improve our muscular health?

Spinal Tap

Strengthening and protecting your spine on a day to day basis is vital says Dr Butler. Yet most people neglect this area of their health and back pain is a really common consultation in the GP surgery. It is also the biggest cause of work absence, accounting for a staggering 12million days off sick in the UK every year.  Poor posture is a large part of the problem, so as we spend a lot of time sat at our desk we need to be so mindful of sitting correctly, having lumbar support in our chair and moving as much as possible throughout the day.

  • Our Tiverton, Inflexion and Sensit have Inflatable Lumbar Support.
  • Our Our Ovair and Sensit chairs offer a Body Balance mechanism with tilted rear seat to help you achieve this perfect posture.

Core Strength

Our Abdominal muscles are crucial to support the spine.  It’s such an important role and Dr Butler advises that this muscle group need to be worked on and worked out regularly to provide a really strong core. The anterolateral abdominal wall is divided into four groups: the external obliques, the internal obliques, the transversus abdominis, and the rectus abdominis.  Pilates is wonderful for core strength, as is Yoga. Dr Butler has several patients who have effectively cured their back pain – meaning they no longer rely on strong analgesics by regularly attending pilates training. However, she also emphasises that core strengthening, if not done correctly could actually risk damaging your spine – so it is important to explore your back pain first with your GP, and seek a reputable class teacher if core strengthening is the problem. 

Neck It

 

                 Inflexion Plus                                         Sensit Plus

 

One of the biggest cause of headaches in the UK is actually from tension in the muscles of the neck,  or as Dr Butler refers, Cervicogenic headaches.  These go hand in hand with stress and poor posture. When we’re stressed, we tense up our neck muscles which causes headaches that start at the base of the neck and travel up and over the head.  Regular gentle neck stretching in breaks and using a headrest can help alleviate this. Another favourite of Dr Butler’s is using heated wheat bags on your neck whilst working. Get one which also has lavender in it to help deal with stress.

  • Our Inflexion Plus and Sensit Plus both have headrests.

 

Leg It

The quadriceps, or thigh muscles, consists of four individual muscles; three vastus muscles and the rectus feomoris. Dr Butler explains, these form the main bulk of the thigh, and collectively are one of the most powerful muscles in the body. Lets also not forget the gluteal muscles, which are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. As you can see from the diagram above, these all play a part when sitting for hours on end at your desk.  Your feet should be placed firmly on the floor and your legs should be at a slight decline for the optimum sitting position.  If you’re sitting awkwardly or at an odd angle, these sets of muscles will pay the price and cause muscular pain after a long uncomfortable day!
  • Our Ovair and Sensit chairs offer a Body Balance mechanism with tilted rear seat to help you achieve this perfect posture .

Arm Wrestle

 

Moving onto your arms, the two main muscles in your upper arm are the biceps in the front and the triceps in the back and you also have the forearm muscles.  All of which are in use whilst typing so need supporting as much as you can throughout the day.  Here’s where armrests play a crucial role and if used correctly can take the weight and relieve stress on these muscles.  Make sure your armrest is set to the correct height for you and low enough to go under the side of the desk, so you can both rest your arms correctly. As you can see from the picture above, the weight of the body is not resting on the elbows – Dr Butler says it is not uncommon for office workers to get ulnar nerve pain in their hands because they spend hours leaning on their elbows.

  •  All of Summit At Home task chairs come with the option of Adjustable Armrests.

Dr Butler summarises that we need to look after these muscle groups, all contribute to the optimum functioning of our wonderful body and if one fails, you’ll feel it!  Keep them toned & use our guide above to maintain good sitting posture and you’ll be able to cope with long days sat at your desk.