15 Jan Pilates at your desk
When you spend the majority of your day at a desk it can be an invitation for those little spots of tension to take up residence in your neck, shoulder and back. Exercises to improve the stability of your shoulder blades; open your chest; strengthen, lengthen and move your spine, can really help to counter balance the slumped position many of us fall into while frantically tapping away at keyboards.
These movements will feature in almost all of the Pilates classes at A Balanced Life studio but great news you don’t need to wait for your next Pilates class to give them a go. When you next need a few minutes away from your to-do list why not try five or ten minutes of Pilates based stretches at your desk.
Start sitting right on top of your sit bones, your chest is open, shoulders down and the top of your head is floating up to the ceiling. Oh and if you’re on a wheelie chair don’t forget to keep your feet firmly on the ground! Think about taking time to breathe and then give the following exercises a try:
- Wrist Circles – as simple as it sounds, circle your wrists in one direction and then the other;
- Leg Extensions – another straight forward one, this time you’re going to lift one foot off the floor, lengthen that leg and then circle the ankle a few times in both directions. Then place that foot back down and repeat on the other side. 4 times on each side, 2 with ankle circles then 2 point/flex the foot.
- Side Bends – sitting nice and tall, then bend over to one side, breathe in while you’re there and as you breathe out draw your body back to the top. If you don’t mind a few glances from your colleagues you could take your arm up to the ceiling to help you lift up and gain extra length through the side that is stretching. 4 times on each side.
* Top tip - keep the weight even through your sit bones on the chair and imagine you’ve got glass in front and behind your body so you can only move to the side.
- Spine Twists – back to your starting position, take your hands together and press your thumbs against your breast bone. Sit up really tall and then rotate through your upper body to one side, take a breath in there and as you breathe out draw back to the centre. Repeat on the other side. 4 twists to each side.
* Top tip – think about lifting up through your spine as you rotate, getting taller each time!
- Spine Stretch Forward – arms out in front of you, shoulders relaxed. Stretch forward through your neck and back, moving just to the shoulder blade height and then sit back up nice and tall. Repeat 4 times.
* Top tip – imagine you are draping over a beach ball as you stretch forward. Think about sitting back into perfect posture.
- Upper Back Extension – sitting up tall, interlock your fingers, stretch your arms and send your palms up to the ceiling. Engage your abdominal muscles and slowly look up towards the ceiling. Hold and breathe in/out, then release and repeat 4 times.
* Top tip – think about lengthening through your spine and opening your chest as you look up to the ceiling
Why not try these everyday for a week and let us know if you feel any difference?