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Stretching tips for desk-bound workers

March 02, 2009|Jeannine Stein

Too many of us spend all day sitting at computers, not moving for hours on end. Being that sedentary can take a toll on the body: Hip flexors become stiff from the constant 90-degree bend, shoulders begin to slouch forward and necks and backs can start to throb.

Over time, muscles become trained to settle into these positions by default -- leaving us with slumping postures, tight hip flexors that (because they're connected to the lower back) contribute to back pain, and overall weak cores that increase the risk of injuring ourselves just by lifting a bag of groceries. A few exercises can alleviate those aches, making the body more flexible and targeting trouble spots such as the neck, shoulders, back and hips.

At the very minimum, health and fitness experts say, get up and move around every hour or so -- even for just a couple of minutes. Not only will that prevent being locked into pain-inducing positions, but it'll also help burn some calories.

"Even doing [short] bouts of exercise throughout the day can help maintain your metabolism," says Pete McCall, an exercise physiologist and personal trainer. "By getting up and being active, you can burn [up to] an extra 300 calories during the day."

We asked McCall and two other trainers for their advice on easy ways to counterbalance the negative effects of leading a desk-bound life.

Full story, Page 6.

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