Labour-intensive industries get a lot of attention when it comes to work-related injuries, but employees who work in office settings are also at risk. Poor ergonomics and organization can lead to common office injuries such as computer eye strains, falls and most importantly, repetitive use injuries.
Our bones and muscles make up our musculoskeletal system. This system allows us to perform activities such as walking, running, and anything requiring the movement of the body. A repetitive strain injury occurs when repeated movements produce stress on your body. Unfortunately, many office jobs require repetitive motions to fulfill our duties, and for this reason, they are the most common type of injury found in the office (WCB). Examples of repetitive strain injuries include carpal tunnel, tendonitis, radial tunnel syndrome, and others.
Symptoms of repetitive strain injuries include:
· Dull aching
· Loss of sensation (numbness) especially at night
· Tingling and burning sensations
· Swelling around wrist/hand
· Clumsiness (impaired dexterity, loss of ability to grasp items, etc.)
· Muscle weakness, fatigue, and/or spasms
· Stop or reduce the intensity of activity causing the pain
· Taking breaks from repetitive tasks
· While at the desk…
· Ensure proper ergonomics
· Avoid slouching
· Avoid bending the wrists when typing
· Avoid hitting the keys too hard when typing
· Don’t grip the mouse too tightly
· Ensure you are working in an appropriate temperature
Standing up and performing stretches such as the following:
WCB (n.d.) Office Ergonomics. Retrieved from: https://www.wcb.ab.ca/assets/pdfs/public/office_ergo.pdf
Properly activating your glutes before starting any exercise is important to ensure safety and optimal performance. Complex lifts such as deadlifts or squats not only require a strong and engaged core, but also activation of your large leg and glute muscles to help generate a desired level of power for the movement.
Booty, butt, derriere, backside, rump, fanny, keister, caboose, tush. So many different names for the one body part everyone wants to build, tighten and tone.
By far the largest and strongest group of muscles in your body, the gluteals (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus) and the hamstrings (biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus) work together to extend, rotate and abduct the hip. They also contribute to stabilization of the pelvis, in particular during walking, running and climbing.
A well-trained rear end isn’t just nice to look at. Strong glutes and hamstrings can help improve posture, alleviate lower back, hip and knee pain, enhance athletic performance, reduce bone density loss and even eliminate that stubborn abdominal pooch. What’s more, because muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, increasing lean muscle mass via glutes training can accelerate fat loss and help to keep it off.
All pretty good arguments for training your glutes, don’t you think?
As a consequence of “sitting disease”, many of us suffer from poor posture. Tight, shortened hip flexors, weak, over-stretched hip extensors and glutes that ‘forget’ how to activate properly all contribute to the most commonly observed postural deviations: swayback and kyphosis-lordosis.
What’s more, forward-tilting hips push the abdomen out, creating the illusion of a ‘gut’, even in the absence of excess belly fat.
Try adding squats, lunges and dead lifts to your current strength training routine, making sure to adequately stretch out the opposing hip flexors to improve posture and reduce belly ‘pooch’. This is perhaps the quickest (and easiest) way to lose 5 pounds and appear an inch or two taller!
Strong glutes support the lower back. When the glutes aren’t strong enough to perform their hip extension function, muscles that weren’t designed for the job will take over. Over time, these ‘helper’ muscles may become overstressed, resulting in pain and compression in the lumbar spine, hips and knees.
Because the glutes are also hip stabilizers, weak gluteal muscles can result in poor alignment of the entire lower body, leaving you prone to injuries including Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains and tears and iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.
Protect your hips, knees and ankles by strengthening your glutes with hip thrusts, single leg dead lifts and weighted clam shells.
The gluteus maximus is capable of generating an enormous amount of power. This power can be translated into sports-specific speed, acceleration, vertical distance, and endurance. Training the hips to extend powerfully and propel the body forwards is key to improving your ability to run, jump, and cycle faster, harder, and longer.
Try adding in a day or two of lower body strength training on days when you’re not scheduled for a long run or cycle. And don’t forget to stretch and foam roll afterwards to maintain hip mobility and flexibility. A great love-to-hate hip opener? Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, the one-legged pigeon pose.
Bone density peaks somewhere between 5 and 10 years after we reach skeletal maturity. Starting as early as age 30, old and damaged bone is resorbed faster than new bone is formed resulting in increased risk of osteopaenia (lower than normal bone density) and osteoporosis (a progressive bone disease).
Exercises that place mechanical stress on the bones, including lower body weight training, running and some forms of yoga, can postpone and even reverse the effects of age-related bone-density loss. The earlier you start incorporating them in your training, the greater their potential benefits.
Fat loss requires a daily caloric deficit. Burn more calories than you consume and you’ll lose fat (more or less). Unlike adipose tissue, muscle is metabolically active, meaning that even when you’re not working out, your muscles will burn calories from stored fat. In fact, studies suggest that for every pound of muscle you build, your body will burn an extra 50 calories per day.
Given that the glutes and hamstrings are two of the largest muscle groups in the body, their potential contribution to fat loss is not to be underestimated. Try incorporating a variety of squats and lunges in a whole-body-compound-lift style circuit to build muscle, torch fat and continue burning calories for 24 to 48 hours after your workout is over.
The gluteal or buttocks muscles are a muscle group that can be neglected during daily life because we spend so much time sitting these days. This sometimes means that when we do go to complete a workout, the gluteal muscles are a bit lazy at first. The glutes are a super important group both during standing and keeping balanced and have also been referred to as the “engine of the athlete.” An enormous amount of power can come from the gluteal muscles during running and jumping (e.g. did anyone see Simone Biles’ phenomenal height reached during her tumbling passes?!). So, since gluteal muscles sometimes get lazy, try adding a few of these activation exercises in as warm-up before a run or before bigger lifts or jumping drills to get the most out of your engine.
1. Glute Bridge/Hip Thrust: basic, safe to learn and a physio favourite. Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Before you thrust your hips to the ceiling, create tension in your torso by activating your abdominal muscles, then push through your heels to bring hips towars the ceiling. For an added challenge, try doing this with one leg up at a time. By using single leg, you’ll notice how much you shift from side to side or how one hip tends to drop. Work on trying to keep hips even, stable and centred.
5. Glute and Hamstrings Slides: this is similar to the glute bridge but adds another component. Set yourself as you would for your glute bridge, but place a towel under your heels between your feet and your ground. Activate your abdominals, thrust your hips to the ceiling and slide your feet out very slowly. As you slide, keep pushing your hips to the ceiling.