Fitness

Exercise At Work With A Chair

For most people, exercise equipment means treadmills, weights, or a yoga mat. Did you ever consider your basic work chair to be another way you can include some exercise into your day?

For those of you stuck sitting in a chair for hours every day here are some great exercises that’ll not only keep you flexible, but may even help prevent some of the aches and pains sitting can cause. I’ve also added a few standing stretches that give you a much needed break from sitting. Get into the habit of doing these stretches every hour or so, especially when you notice you’re muscles feeling tight or sore.

In addition, use ergonomics, which means fitting your workplace to your body, to help reduce discomfort. Always use a lumbar support (a small rolled up towel or pillow works well) and place it in the area between your lower back and the chair. When sitting, your feet should rest comfortably on the floor with your knees bent and level with your hips. If your knees are higher than your hips, adjust your chair to a higher level or sit on a pillow. If your feet don’t reach the floor, lower your chair or use a small stool to raise your feet.

If your back feels sore after sitting for even a short time, consider using a kneeling chair or even a table that allows you to stand and work. A kneeling chair helps distribute weight forward and takes pressure off the lower spine, and for some people with back pain a standing position is more comfortable than sitting. If you do prefer working in a standing position, use a small stool to raise one foot as your work.

With all of these exercises use your breathing to enhance the stretch. Don’t hold your breath, just breath naturally using your exhale to slide into the stretch.

1. Forward chair stretch
Sit towards the edge of your chair. Take a big breath in and as your exhale lean slowly forward, letting your arms drop towards the floor. Keep bending forward until you feel a stretch in your back and hips. Hold for several seconds and then place your hands on your knees and press your body back up to sitting position.

2. Back stretch
Press back into your chair and lift your arms up over your head. Lean your arms and head back slowly until you feel a stretch in your neck, arms, upper back and shoulders. Hold for 5 seconds and return to sitting position.

3. Side chair stretch
Press your bottom as far back as you can into the back of the chair. Allow your feet to rest comfortably on the floor with your knees bent. Take a breath and as you exhale twist slowly to one side, and reach for the back of the chair. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat in opposite direction.

4.Standing back stretch
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hands resting on your hips. Lean back slowly, looking up slightly as you bend back stretching your spine. If you feel off balance in this position rest one hand against a wall for stability.

5 .Wall stretch
If you have time to do only one stretch this is one that’ll bring your body back into proper posture and alleviate muscle tightness in just a minute or two. It’s my favorite stretch to straighten up a forward droop and give you an energy boost.

Stand against a wall with your hands at your side, palms up. Take a deep breath as you exhale and slowly raise your arms upward, keeping your hands against the wall as your lift. Raise your arms to the point where your feel a stretch (don’t push past the point of muscle tightness). Try to stretch slowly, allowing your arm and shoulder muscles time to relax enough to enable you to raise them straight overhead. Use your breathing to help you with the stretch by taking breaths and exhaling as you try to increase the stretch. Slowly lower your arms back down to start position and repeat.

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