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Are You Moving Enough at Work?

Standing away from desk
15 March 2022

The Compensation Experts have teamed up with physiotherapist and creator of moovlite, Jeannie Di Bon, to list the top tips on how to keep moving when working.

Are you experiencing back or neck pain or even leg aches after sitting at your desk for longer periods? With many people in office-based jobs and even working from home, an increasing number of workers have been experiencing back problems and often develop a poor posture due to a less than ideal set-up in the office.

Overall, 470,000 workers in the UK suffered from a work-related musculoskeletal disorder in 2020 and 2021 according to The Compensation Experts. In 2019 and 2020 the Labour Force Survey found that 8.9 million working days were lost due to these conditions, and it was theorised that working from beds and dining tables is contributing to a rise in work-related musculoskeletal cases.

“There are two main challenges when it comes to desk-based working – being stationary for long periods, and poor desk set up,” said Jeannie. She recommends moving at least every 45 minutes, so in an eight-hour working day that equates to ten times a day.

"The body loves to move," Jeannie also explained, "but if we sit for many hours without the opportunity to move around or stretch regularly, our tissue becomes dehydrated. This dehydration causes tissues to stick together and makes us feel stiff. Prolonged stiffness can lead to pain. “

Top Tips for Moving at Work


Jeannie Di Bon shares the ideal exercises you can do even while sitting at your desk. These are her best suggestions:

  1. Rolling the foot under your desk on a tennis ball or spikey ball. This will keep circulation going – and it's super easy to do.
  2. Calf pumps – rotate your ankles in both directions one leg at a time. This will keep the calf muscles working, which prevents things like DVT from sitting too much. This can help with circulation and tight lower leg muscles.
  3. Seated roll forward – a great release for the spine. Sit in your office chair turned away from your desk with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Rest your hands on your thighs.  Nod your head slightly and start to roll the spine forward, allowing the hands to slide down the legs towards the feet, keeping your chin tucked in. At the bottom inhale into the back of the body to expand the lungs and stretch the thoracic spine. To return, press your feet into the ground and start to roll the pelvis back which will lift your spine back to vertical.  
  4. Due to sitting staring at computers for a long time, the spine can get tight and fixed in one position.  Gently introduce some counter actions to prevent a build of up stiff muscles which can cause pain.  Whilst sitting on the chair, place your left hand on your right thigh, gently rotating the spine to the right, looking over your right shoulder to also stretch the neck.  Repeat the other way.
  5. For the same reason, add some side bends into your spine. Whilst sitting on your chair, let your spine flex to the left, the left arm slides down the side of the chair. Keep the pelvis heavy and balanced. Use the weight of the pelvis to lift the spine back up and repeat the other side.
  6. Standing – hold onto the back of your chair and walk on the spot to use the calf muscles. Lift both heels and then slowly lower one heel down. Then swap – so you are raising one heel at a time, alternating feet.

Picture: a person standing away from their desk. Image credit: Unsplash.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 15 March 2022


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