If you’re here, then all of the different moves can seem overwhelming. Don’t be intimidated! While the moves may seem extremely technical and pre-determined, there is actually a lot of flexibility within them. In fact, you can even do some of these exercises at your desk, to free your spine, loosen tight back muscles, keep hips from cramping and ease any stiffness in your neck. To start, I’ve created a short, easy video to show you just how easy it is to roll your chair back from your workspace and do some quick moves to energize your body and relieve any tension.
Start with a simple arm stretch
I show exactly how to raise your arms and gently stretch away any stiffness in your shoulders and neck, without cracking your spine or causing more soreness. You’ll be amazed at how the simple act of learning how to stretch properly can make a huge difference in how you feel!
Next, it’s time for a simple twist and stretch.
The chair comes into play here – you can actually use it to create resistance while you hold the position. I include instructions on how to breathe into the area of your body that feels the stretch, to reduce tightness around the rib cage and gently twist the spine.
are great if you have a tendency to lean into your desk and rest more weight on one elbow or arm then the other. This makes your back tend to cramp up when you straighten. My easy modification for the side bend stretches your cramped muscles and loosens up your shoulders (hint: just doing exercises like these can help improve your posture and prevent future cramping. It’s win-win!)
The Figure 4 Stretch
lengthens the muscles on the outside of the hip, all the way down into the outer thigh. If your hips tend to lock up after a few hours in the chair, this stretch can release the pressure and make your lower back feel like new.
Finally, a simple core exercise
But full disclaimer, this one either requires a complete lack of self-consciousness, or an empty office. This core strength exercise requires bending over and planting your forearms on the seat of your office chair for a kind of modified pushup! (Of course, if you’re smart, you don’t care what anyone else thinks about your decision to stay fit and healthy at the office. Just saying!) Working from home? Aren’t you lucky!
Each exercise has a few different variations so you can choose the one you feel most comfortable with. When you feel the slight tightness at the furthest end of each stretch or bend, hold and breathe into the tightest portion of your body.
Exercise isn’t just for the gym or the yoga studio. It can easily be done almost anywhere, at any time. This video is only six and a half minutes long, and you can easily do a quick series of Pilates moves in under ten minutes without ever leaving your desk!
Don’t have ten minutes? The great thing about Pilates is that each move works on its own – so any time you feel a body part cramping, you can simply take a few seconds to do a stretch, bend or twist to loosen that specific muscle or joint. You’ll instantly experience relief, and be able to return to work feeling better and more focused.