I know it’s hard to add a few changes to the working day. You can plan to do these simple exercises during the day by putting a reminder in your schedule or putting a post-it on your computer !
Aim to do them every other day and then everyday and you’ll find you’ll miss them if you don’t.
Well, no more excuses! Even if you’re sitting at the office right now, here are five simple Pilates-based exercises you can do in your chair that will instantly make you feel better.
The essence of practicing Pilates starts with your core.
Whether sitting or standing, find your best posture. Inhale and let your torso expand with air like a balloon (don’t let your belly push out). As you exhale, press the air out of your stomach and torso, concentrating on pulling your stomach in toward your spine.
When you think you’ve pressed all the air out, keep pulling the belly button in to kiss your lower spine.
2. Chin drops
Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective.
Sit or stand while letting the shoulders drop away from your ears, just drop, don’t pull them down. Then gently nod your chin down towards your chest as if you are trying to hold a small apple there. You should feel a small stretch down your neck and spine.
Repeat the chin tilt several times without curling the shoulders or upper back. Repeat your breathing exercise, you should feel the tension release.
3. Shoulder Circles
A favorite of mine:
Sit or stand in a tall upright position, pulling in your belly. Circle the shoulders forward, up, down and back for 5 repetitions, try not to move your head or spine.
Reverse the circles the other way for 5 more repetitions. The slower you go, the more tension you’ll release, deep breathes all the way.
4. Ankle Flexes
This is a great move for getting circulation going in the legs if you’ve been working at the computer all day or sitting (with belly in of course) in long meetings or a long flight.
Sitting in your chair, cross one leg over the other at the knee. Point the toes of the top leg as far away from you as possible and then flex the toes back. You can then continue into some ankle circles, 5 reps in each direction is good.
5. Calf Stretches
One of the best things you can do during your day is to stand up and give yourself a stretch break. This one is great for getting the oxygen flowing.
Stand with your feet hip-width-distance apart. (Great if you can do this looking out a window or away from your computer!)
Your feet should be parallel, facing forward, and yes, belly pulled and shoulders dropped. Bend your knees out over your toes, then straighten back up.
Rise up onto the balls of your feet and then slowly lower your heels down to the floor.
Then if you can put your foot on a low chair or table a small hamstring stretch forward on each leg will finish your office Pilates perfectly!!