Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pilates Relief for Desk Jockies

We have all heard it. Sitting is bad for your health. Chronic pain & postural imbalances caused by long periods of sitting and computer work are wreaking havoc with people’s backs, necks, hips and breathing. Getting up as often as you can, working from upright positions when possible and taking a 10 minute Pilates Relief Program 2 x a day can be spine saving. Try these moves morning and afternoon to open your chest and shoulders, lengthen your spine, and help bring balance to your hips.

Shoulder Shrugs – sit tall at the front of your chair with feet flat on floor, even weight on both sit bones and hands resting on legs. Inhale and shrug shoulders up high to the ears, hold, then exhale and slide the shoulders back down away from ears. Repeat 8 x.

Elbow Circles - sit tall at the front of your chair with feet flat on floor, even weight on both sit bones and hands resting on top of each shoulder. Keeping fingers on shoulders, slowly circle elbows in front, up, out to sides and back in as big a range of motion as possible, 8 x each way.

Upper Back Release – sit tall at the front of your chair with feet flat on floor, even weight on both sit bones and hands clasped behind back of neck. Bring elbows together in front of chin then exhale and curl upper back and head forward toward legs. Inhale deeply, then exhale and lift head and chest to extend the upper spine bringing the elbows up toward ceiling. Repeat 8 x

Seated Twist – sit tall at the front of your chair with feet flat on floor, even weight on both sit bones. Inhale to prepare then exhale turning left, placing right hand on left knee and left hand behind back. Inhale to return center, then exhale and turn right, placing left hand on right knee and right hand behind back. Repeat 4 x

Box Stretch – using the back of your chair, desk top or wall, place your hands shoulder width apart and walk your feet back away from your hands taking your hips back over your ankles. Try to create a 90 degree angle or the letter L by softly bending your knees, tilting your sitting bones upward and stretching your arms, chest, and spine as long as possible. Hold for 5 deep breathes.

Standing Heels Raises – stand tall beside your chair or desk with your feet together and core muscles drawn in, slowly rise up onto your toes to lift heels holding feet together. Repeat 8x (best done without shoes – kick ‘em off!

Quad Stretch – stand beside your chair or desk, bend one knee and bring your heel toward buttocks. Hold the foot or ankle and keeping thighs parallel gently press the hip forward while you continue to draw the foot in. Breathe deeply and draw core muscles in on each exhale. Hold 30 sec - 1 minute then change legs.

Seated Hip Opener - sit tall at the front of your chair and start with feet flat on floor. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh just above the knee and turn the right knee out, moving the shin toward parallel with the floor. Lift up through the spine and with the hands either behind you on the chair, or around your knee and ankle, exhale and move forward towards the legs, increasing the stretch in the right hip. Breathe deeply and hold 30 sec-1min then change legs.

Thanks for reading!