Complementary health care clinic specializing in pregnancy scans, classes and treatments

The Sitting Athlete (Sports Therapy Advice For The Desk Bound)

sports therapy and sports massageThe Sitting Athlete

By Paul McInnes, Verulam Clinic’s Sports Massage and Sports Therapist

Long periods of physical inactivity often causes injury and as most of us are not athletes and spend our days sat hunched over a computer, in a vehicle or on a sofa instead can lead to:

  • Tight hip flexors, hamstrings and calves
  • Restricted joint movements
  • Reduced extension through the lower back causing stiffness
  • Stiff mid-spine
  • Tight/hunched shoulders causing weakness
  •  “Poked Chin” posture and neck/shoulder muscle imbalances

Sit up and pay attention

The solution starts with education.  Firstly, you must learn how to hold your spine correctly and put your body into good posture.  Many people try sitting up tall by purely leaning back from the base of the spine and without altering their mid-spine or shoulders.  Instead, find a neutral lower back position to effectively pull your shoulder blades down your back and combat the need to hunch forwards.  However, it is difficult to hold good posture at a workstation if poorly set-up.  If this is the case, a workplace assessment should help by modifying heights and placements of equipment and/or introducing corrective devices.

Workplace rules for sitting

  • Do not hold the phone between shoulder and ear
  • Keep the computer mouse close enough for the elbow to remain close to the body
  • Distribute frequently used items between left and right hand’s reach
  • Keep feet comfortably flat on the floor
  • Ensure the chair has a relatively high and straight back-rest

Exercises to help stay flexible

  • Lie on your back over a rolled towel/foam roller (perpendicular to spine) to stretch the mid-spine into extension.
  • Lie face down and push up into extension through the lower back.
  • Twist and stretch through the mid-spine.
  • Stand six inches away from a wall, knees slightly bent, back and shoulder blades flattened against the wall and then pull back the chin into the wall.
  • Stretch your hip flexors, calves and hamstrings.

To book an appointment with Paul, CLICK HERE

Care Quality Commission

Verulam Clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission. Provider ID: 1-127591200 20th May 2012 Registered number: 05283588 All sonographers & physiotherapists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council.


Verulam Clinic
118-120 Victoria Street
St Albans

01727 833 100