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In this DVD, physical therapist Chantal Donnelly—who was previously featured in the therapeutic video Strong Knees—has put together a comprehensive approach to preventing the wear and tear on the body that can develop as a result of sedentary office work. Using a series of short chapters, Donnelly educates about crucial topics such as posture and workplace ergonomics, but she also teaches simple exercises designed to alleviate stress and reduce tension.
The Main Menu of the DVD offers options for Play All or Chapters. There are two separate chapter sub-menus, listing Chapters 1-5 and Chapters 6-10. I have briefly described each chapter below, including approximate times.
Donnelly provides a brief overview of the DVD.
PAIN FREE SITTING, 2.5 minutes
In this segment, Donnelly uses a model to demonstrate proper sitting posture.
TRAINING FOR MARATHON SITTING, PHASE 1, 2 minutes
Here Donnelly focuses on teaching the viewer how to contract the abdominals while maintaining proper seated posture; she encourages practicing for several days before moving on to Phase 2.
TRAINING FOR MARATHON SITTING, PHASE 2, 12.5 minutes
In this segment, Donnelly teaches some basic stretches, mainly for the back. She is joined by two models who demonstrate the exercises, one of whom shows easier modifications using a stability ball. They begin on hands and knees for a back stretch (cat) and hip stretch, then move to lying on their stomachs for a series of simple back extensions. Additional stretches include elbow plank, downward dog, and chest stretch with one arm on the ball or a chair. They conclude with an occipital stretch and a neck stretch.
ERGONOMICS IN THE WORK PLACE, 4 minutes
For this section, Donnelly brings in an ergonomics expert to show how an ideal work space should be arranged.
EXERCISING AT YOUR DESK, 3.5 minutes
Instructing via voiceover, Donnelly herself performs the few simple exercises in this segment, which include a hamstring stretch, seated stretches for the head and neck, and a standing stretch for the hands/wrists.
AFTER WORK WORKOUT, 6 minutes
This is another stretch segment, this time using a foam roller; Donnelly is again teaching via voiceover. She starts lying vertically over the roller, focusing on moving the arms to release the upper back. Next, she positions the roller horizontally just under the shoulder blades for additional upper back work. Finally, she places her hands on the roller to stretch.
EXPRESS STRESS RELIEF, 2 minutes
For this section, Donnelly asks a psychologist to share his top three stress relief secrets (self-awareness, meditation, and breathing).
Although Donnelly included quite a bit on this DVD, I found only a small amount of the material to be useful. Frankly, doing a simple internet search will easily provide you with information on maintaining proper posture, setting up a ergonomic workspace, and even performing basic exercises at your desk. What I did like about this video were the other two stretching segments. "Marathon Sitting, Phase 2," offered short but effective back exercises that could easily be worked into part of a daily routine; as someone who has experienced lower back problems at a relatively young age (early 40s), I know how important it can be to target this area. The foam roller "After Work Workout" was quite nice too; I have a foam roller, and it is an excellent tool for relieving sore muscles. (On the other hand, some consumers may dismayed to discover that there is no mention of the need for a foam roller on the DVD case.) But in the end, I'm not sure if those two segments alone make this DVD a worthwhile purchase.
© 2011 Beth Cholette
Beth Cholette, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who provides psychotherapy to college students.