Love Pilates but don’t have much time to practice it? Take a break from work and do these exercises – right there in the office – to tone, strengthen, stretch and have a little “me” time.
1. Core Breathing
The focus of Pilates begins with the core. Place your hands with your thumbs on your belly button and form a triangle. The area between your hands approximates your core – that’s where you should visualize your deepest breaths coming from.
- As you sit or stand in whichever position gives you the best posture, inhale deeply, expanding your torso as if filling a balloon. Exhale slowly, pressing the air out of your stomach and torso, pulling your stomach in toward your spine.
- When all the air is pressed out, engage your stomach towards your spine another centimeter for maximum results.
2. Chin Tilt
This simple Pilates move will help relieve stress and can be done anywhere – at any time you feel overwhelmed.
- While sitting or standing, put as much space as possible between your ears and shoulders. Gently nod, placing your chin towards your chest, until you feel a stretch running down your neck and spine.
- Repeat several times but don’t hunch the shoulders or upper back. You should feel immediate relief from this very simple move.
3. Ankle Flex
Research has shown that sitting for long periods of time can lead to numerous health concerns including obesity and metabolic syndrome. Try this move to get your lower legs moving while you’re at your desk.
- As you’re sitting in your chair, cross one leg over the other at the knee. As you point the toes of your top leg as far away from your body as possible, flex the toes backward. You’ll feel a slight stretch in your calf and shin.
- Start with 10 reps then repeat on the opposite leg.
4. Stretchy Calves
- Standing with your feet at a hip-width distance, parallel and facing forward, engage your core.
- Bend your knees out over your toes, then return to a straight position.
- Position yourself onto the balls of your feet and slowly lower your heels to the floor. You’ll feel your calves burn after doing 15 to 20 of these!
5. Oblique Twist
- Place your palms down on your desk as you sit in a swivel chair. Squeeze your knees tightly together with your feet lifted one inch off the floor.
- Without moving your chest, twist the chair from side to side, while stretching you oblique muscles. Do this for 10 to 20 reps.
6. Spinal Twister
Pretend your body is a wet towel that’s being wrung out as you perform this twisting move!
- Sit as tall as you can and stretch your arms out to either side, pressing the crown of your head up to the ceiling. While squeezing your knees together tightly, plant your feet firmly on the floor.
- Inhale deeply, pressing your belly button up and in toward your spine as if you had a tight belt on.
- Exhale and twist your torso to the right, keeping your upper body in line with your hips, keeping your legs held together tightly. Increase the stretch by lifting up your chest, and deepen the exhalation.
- Inhale deeply and return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side. Do three sets and feel the tension release from your spine!
Try these moves at work, and you’ll find yourself refreshed and ready to carry on with your day in a better frame of mind!
- Mind, Body Green, http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15551/stuck-at-work-6-pilates-exercises-you-can-do-at-your-desk.html
- Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.org/sitting/expert-answers/FAQ-20058005
- Web MD, http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/20140407/sitting-disease-faq
- SELF, http://www.self.com/flash/fitness-blog/2012/10/pilates-for-desk-dwellers/