If long days at your desk are leaving you feeling creaky, give this rejuvenating workout a whirl
Most, if not all, of us are now well aware that spending large parts of the day sitting down is not great for our body. In particular, if you’re not very careful about how you are sitting you can end up with back and neck pain as a result of bad posture.
“We round our shoulders, slouch downwards and create unnecessary tension on our lower back and neck,” says Kira Mahal, founder at workplace wellness specialists Reset LDN. “We all know what it’s like to have back pain, stiff shoulders and a tight neck, and it can cause extreme discomfort if not addressed.”
To help you avoid suffering that fate, we asked Mahal to put together a workout that can help you address any problems with your posture.
“Many of these exercises are traditional yoga poses or adapted exercises that can easily be practised anywhere and at any time – even in the office,” says Mahal (although we’d suggest your own private office with the door closed). “Aim to complete the suggested repetition and hold time for each exercise, but if you find that you are struggling with a certain exercise, decrease the hold time and then over the next few times you do the session work on slowly building up the time in the hold position. Aim to do this workout once a week to start reversing the effects of poor posture.”
It’s also worth noting that while this workout will help you address the effects of poor posture it won’t fix the root cause. “You should have your feet flat on the floor, eyes level with your computer, shoulders relaxed and not hunched, and your forearms parallel to the floor if sitting at a desk,” says Mahal.
1 Cat/cow stretch
Sets: 1 Reps: 20
“Get on all fours, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips,” says Mahal. “As you exhale, gently arch your spine and raise your head. Hold this position for three seconds, then as you inhale, start to round your back while squeezing your abdominal muscles.”
Once you have fully rounded your back, tucking your chin into your chest, come back to the starting position and repeat.
2 Bird dog
Sets: 1 Reps: 10 each side
“Start on all fours with your arms in line with your shoulders and knees in line with your hips,” says Mahal. “Lift your right arm and reach forwards until it is extended straight from your shoulder. Simultaneously lift your left leg backwards until it is also fully extended. Hold the position for three seconds and then slowly come back to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite limbs.”
3 Glute bridge
Sets: 1 Reps: 20
“Lie on your back with your knees bent and put your arms out to the sides,” says Mahal. “Tighten your abdominals, squeeze your glutes and raise your hips. Hold the position for three seconds, then lower back to the original position.”
4 High plank
Sets: 4 Time: 20sec
“Start by lying with your stomach on the floor and your hands beside you pressing down,” says Mahal. “Engage your abdominals and lift your body so that all your weight is on your hands and toes. Ensure that your hips are down, your glutes are engaged and you are keeping a neutral spine.”
Sets: 1 Reps: 15
“Lie on your stomach, reach both hands forwards and extend your arms,” says Mahal. “Lift your chest off the ground but keep looking down. At the same time, lift your legs off the ground and hold for ten seconds. Return to the original position and repeat.”
6 Half cobra
Sets: 1 Reps: 15
“Lie flat on your stomach with your forearms touching the ground and your palms facing down,” says Mahal. “Slowly lift your chest up, prop yourself on your elbows and hold for 15 seconds, then carefully return to the original position. Every two or three reps increase the hold time by five seconds so that by the end you are holding the pose for a total of 30 seconds.”