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The question

I often sit at my computer for 12 hours a day. Can you recommend a couple of exercises I can do to counteract the strain that long days of sitting put on my body?

The answer

I'd suggest setting an alarm on your computer that prompts you to break once an hour. During your mini-break, take a short walk around the office, drink water and do the two exercises below.

Lunge and reach: Start in a lunge position with your right foot forward. Bend both knees slightly and tuck your pelvis so that you bring your pubic bone up toward your ribs slightly. Reach your left arm up toward the sky and feel the stretch in the front of the left hip. Repeat on other side.

Upper-back mobility, three ways:
  1. Rotations: Sit tall and place your fingers at your ears. Rotate through your spine so that you look to the right. As you rotate keep your nose in line with your sternum. Repeat on other side.
  2. Lateral reach: Lift your right arm up over your head and lateral bend so that your left shoulder comes toward your left hip. Repeat on other side.
  3. Sky reach: Sitting tall, reach both arms up toward the ceiling, while simultaneously lifting your chest slightly toward the ceiling and looking up toward your hands.

Repeat the entire sequence three times.

Trainer’s tip:

Take a look at how your work station is set up. A common mistake people make is positioning their computer slightly off to one side. This causes one to sit twisted all day and can cause pain in the neck, back and hips.

The content provided in The Globe and Mail’s Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.