#157: Pain from Sitting All Day? Here’s How to Get Moving, with Pilates teacher Eva Stabenow

Today’s guest is Eva Stabenow, a Pilates teacher and movement coach who helps freelance writers, translators and other desk workers heal their bodies through movement while continuing to pursue the work they love. 

In the early 2010s, after a successful career as a German medical translator, Eva began to suffer from severe shoulder and wrist pain caused by long hours at her desk. After years of searching, Eva finally found lasting relief through corrective Pilates. This inspired her to seek comprehensive training and help other writers find the same lasting relief and enjoy the lifelong health benefits of a tailored Pilates practice.

Today, in addition to empowering others to take charge of their health through movement, Eva works primarily as a health writer specializing in plain-language patient education.

I invited Eva on the show to talk about how Pilates — but also just movement and stretching and strength training is important for our bodies, especially for those of who sit for long periods of time. I don’t think our human bodies were meant to sit in chairs all day, and human evolution hasn’t caught up to the modern world. 

Eva shares with us a few things we can do throughout the day and in our lives, in general, to make our desk work less painful and better for our bodies and posture. 

In this episode, Eva talks about:

  • What Pilates is
  • How Pilates helped Eva realign her body and relieve pain
  • What happens to our body alignment when we sit too long (forward head posture, back roundness, low back pain, tight hip flexors)
  • Why it’s important to strengthen your upper back muscles and move more throughout the day
  • Stretching alone isn’t usually enough to prevent pain. You need to work to strengthen certain muscles too. 
  • We also need to focus on strengthening our feet and ankles. 
  • Think of your body as a “walking building” with a strong foundation that moves. 
  • The importance of incorporating movement throughout your day—move in all planes of motion. 
  • The various types of Pilates and how to do it at home versus taking a group or private class
  • Standing desks, treadmill desks and other “solutions” to modern desk work
  • Pilates moves to do at your desk: Mermaid stretch, Pilates roll down
  • How Pilates helps with mental health also
  • Setting timers or booking classes or friend meetups to remind yourself to get up and move
  • How to build movement and exercise into habits
  • How to find a good Pilates studio and teacher  

Biz Bite: Make yourself and your physical health a priority. 


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