So many of us now spend our working days stuck in front of a computer hunched over a desk often sitting on a worn out chair with little to no support. As a Pilates Instructor I see so many clients complaining of lower back strain and neck and shoulder problems after a long working week. So what can you do?
I have put together 5 simple exercises that you can do sitting at your desk to boost circulation and help to tone up while working towards that deadline!
1 – Ankle rotations
Super easy to do and vital to help boost blood flow in the lower legs, ankles and feet and strengthen the ankle joints (particularly important if you are a runner!)
Rotate your ankles in one direction for 5-10 seconds and then change direction – this counts as one set. Repeat each set 5 times at least once a day.
2 – Calf raises
This is a great little exercise for achieving those dancer like toned calves!
Best done with shoes off. Sit with your feet directly under your knees and raise your heels pressing down into your toes as if standing on tiptoe. Aim to hold for 10-15 seconds then lower the heels and repeat up to 10 times.
3 – Glute squeeze
This exercise uses isometric holds (pretty much contracting a muscle so it is working without actually moving it) so can be done as often as you like without being too obvious!
Simply sit upright at your desk breathing slowly squeeze your glutes (thats your bum in English!) as hard as you can for 10 seconds then rest for 20 seconds then repeat. Repeat up to 10 times.
4 – Sitting ab work
Sitting up tall at the front edge of your chair (careful with wheely chairs, apply the brakes if you can!) knees under the desk and palms flat on the work surface. Take a deep breath in and exhale as you lift both knees up to touch the underside of the desk, hold for a breath in and exhale to set your feet back down. Use your hands to stabilise your upper body.
5 – Arm exercises
To be honest there are so many variations of arm exercises that can be done so here are just a few to get you started.
The Namaste – taking the traditional prayer pose from yoga place your hand together infront of your chest and press evenly into both hands until you feel your arm muscles contract, hold for 20 seconds then release, repeat up to 10 times.
The lift – place hands on the arm rests, press firmly down into the hands to straighten the arms and lift your bum of the seat, repeat 5 times, rest then repeat another 5. If you really want a challenge (and are wearing trousers!) cross your legs under you and see if you can lift your whole body weight (maybe not one to try if the boss is around!)
Most importantly please remember to get up and walk around as much a possible and stay hydrated!!