Improving your Mobility Even When Working 40 Hours A Week: 5-Minute Stretching Routine You Can Do At Your Desk
Time - there’s never enough in the day.
With your commute to and from work, 40 hours a week spent at the office, daily ‘life admin’, and quality time spent with loved ones, how could you possibly have time to workout?
Life is always so incredibly busy, and after a hard, long day at work, the last thing you want to be doing is getting your workout gear on and burning some calories. After all, you have no energy left to give, right? No wonder sitting on the sofa, watching a good series on Netflix with a glass of wine in hand always takes priority. (We don’t blame you!)
Whilst we’re all for some chill out time and understand that the need to re-charge shouldn’t be ignored, we’re passionate about looking after our bodies. Being a 9-5 worker, spending prolonged periods of time sitting down, you’re unfortunately in the demographic that is susceptible to poor mobility and physical health problems.
And we’re afraid to say that unless mobility problems are addressed, they are only likely to get worse.
But before you start to panic, and begin racking your brain with ideas of where to fit something else into your crazy schedule… relax, we’ve done the thinking for you so that you don’t have to!
We’ve put together this quick, 5-minute, easy-to-follow stretching routine that you can do whilst at your desk. So the next time you return from getting yourself a well-earned coffee, you can prioritise your mobility before resuming your work.
Why Is Mobility So Important, Anyway?
Loss of mobility essentially refers to a loss of the ability to move around freely and without pain. Whilst the causes of reduced mobility can differ significantly, 1 in 10 people have expressed that they have health problems caused by too much sitting.
Sitting for long periods is a threat to your body as it means that your large leg and gluteal muscles can weaken and waste away. These large muscles help you to walk and keep you stabilised, and so if these are weak, you have an increased chance of becoming injured when you exercise.
Not only are these muscles affected, but you will find that you have increasingly worsening problems with your joints. In particular, with your hips. Sitting down causes the hip flexors to shorten which makes them feel tight. Having tight hips will make it harder for you to walk, bend, and stand.
Sadly, if you were to ignore these symptoms, you would become less able to do the things that you can currently, and so your quality of life would be on the decline.
But, fear not! Noticing, addressing, and taking preventative measures for these health issues now, will ensure that your physical and mental wellbeing can improve. And you will no longer have to worry about how mobile you will be in the future! (That’s a relief, eh!?)
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Your 5-Minute Stretching Routine To Do Whilst At Your Desk
Now that you have a better understanding of why this issue cannot be ignored, it’s time to get into the good stuff (it’s what you came here for, after all). In this section, we’re going to take you through the mobility routine that you can do without needing to eat into your relaxation time.
In a series of four videos, we’ll show you some brilliant stretches that you can do to target the troubled areas that are affected as a result of being seated for prolonged periods of time. These will ultimately look to target your hips, back, glutes and quads.
Just a quick reminder before we jump into it:
Listen to your body and take each aspect of the routine at your own pace. While the videos are designed to be beginner friendly, we’re all different. A small degree of discomfort is totally normal in some exercises (particularly when we’re releasing tension). But if something really doesn’t feel right, hold off for a second, or avoid it completely.
Okay, let’s get started!
1) Hip Flexor Thrust
Start off your mobility workout by going down on one knee, squeezing your glutes, and keeping your pelvis directly underneath the body. From here, tilt the pelvis underneath and you should feel the stretch on the front of your hip flexor.
Relax off, and then squeeze and tilt your pelvis back underneath to feel the stretch.
If you don’t feel much of a stretch, or you want to increase the difficulty, pick your back foot off the floor and hold it. This will make you feel a bit of a stretch in your quad.
Alternatively, bring the opposite arm up above the head, and take it over the body to increase the length of the stretch.
2) Wall Hip Opener (Seated)
This exercise is the wall hip opener but can be adjusted so that you’re able to complete it whilst staying seated at your desk!
Bring your body slightly forward on your chair so that your back isn’t completely flat against the chair. Keep the body upright, spine straight, and legs at a 90 degree angle. From here, pull one leg up and over the top of the other.
Relax down to bring the hips as close to the chair as possible and then hold onto your ankle with one hand, whilst pushing your knee away from the body with the other.
You should feel this in the hip and in the glute.
3) Seated Hip Rotations
For the Seated Hip Rotations, start off with your legs at a 90 degree angle. You’re then going to drop one knee down to the side. Your lead leg should still remain at a 90 degree angle to the body. (Adjust this slightly if you don’t feel the stretch).
Once you’re in this position, lean forward slightly. After holding this for 20-30 seconds, return back to neutral, and swap over to complete the stretch on the other side.
Adjust if you need to, make sure the front leg is at 90 degrees, and then lean slightly forwards to feel that stretch in the hip.
4) Assembly Hold
The Assembly Hold is nice and simple. Whilst sitting on your bum, bring your feet as close to the body as you can. When in this position, push down on to your knees with your elbows whilst holding on to your ankles.
You will feel the stretch on the inside of your hip.
Scheduling Your Mobility Training For Greatest Results
The best way for you to start utilising this training is by doing it little and often.
The fitness industry has a tendency to emphasise going ‘all-in’ and pushing yourself to the maximum in order to achieve results. This isn’t the case for mobility - the road to becoming more mobile takes time. Your joints and tissues need time to adjust, so don’t rush yourself.
Set aside those 5 minutes each working day and you’ll see a huge improvement. Through repetition and consistency a habit is born, and we want stretching work to become a habit that slots seamlessly into your daily routine.
Complete these flows whilst at work each day and you’ll soon notice your body being able to move more efficiently with both your workouts, and general, everyday movements.
Ready To Start Your Mobility Practice?
Setting aside just 5 minutes per day is the perfect place to start if you’re looking to improve your mobility and enjoy freedom of movement. It’s really that simple.
So why not give it a go for the next 40 days?
While it might not seem like you’re making big changes day to day, you’ll be surprised how much progress you can make in just over a month!
Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your down-time with loved ones pain, restriction, and guilt-free (with a glass of wine still in hand, of course!)
If you’re passionate about taking control of your mobility, and want to learn more, checkout the programs that we have to offer here.
All it takes is getting started with the first day. The ones that follow will only get easier.