It's 3 PM. Your computer hums softly. Your eyes are strained. Your foot just fell asleep, and there is a dull ache in your lower back. It's time to un-desk your body (and it will only take a few minutes, we promise!).
Working from home is likely a part of your new reality, but that doesn’t mean you’re spending any less time in front of your computer. In fact, the pandemic has boosted American screentime by two hours and blurred the line for many between work and home life. Give your regular Pilates routine a boost to get the flexibility and core strength you need to sit in a chair for eight hours or longer on a daily basis.
Let us be your guide to avoiding office syndrome with some quick at-home Pilates stretches!
Sitting at a computer promotes a rounded back and closed chest. This position constricts your ability to breathe deep, full breaths. Forget the cold and bring your snow angels indoors to open your chest and get the blood flowing in your arms and hands!
Start flat against the wall
Walk feet away from the wall until full back is in contact with the wall
Raise arms to shoulder height
On a deep inhale, take arms up next to your ears
On a deep exhale, circle arms all the way down to your sides
Repeat 4-8 times and switch direction, always exhaling as arms come down
After sitting for extended periods of time, your lower back and the backs of your legs need a good stretch! Enter roll down.
Begin in the same position as arm circles - back against the wall, feet walked forward
Extend arms at shoulder height and hold throughout the exercise
Bend spine forward, peeling back off of wall
Pause at the bottom for 2 deep breaths
Exhale to roll back up the wall
Repeat 4-8 times
Keep the blood flowing in your legs with 4-8 calf stretches on each side.
Turn to face the wall
Place hands on the wall
With heels on the floor and toes on the wall, lean forward until you feel the stretch
Take 2 full breaths with each repetition
Knees can be bent or straight
End your stretch break by opening your chest even further to prevent tightness and allow yourself those much-needed deep, full breaths.
Stand an arms-length from the corner of the wall
All 10 toes facing forward
With palm facing away from you, extend arm at shoulder height to connect palm to the wall
Press into the wall as you turn upper body away from arm connected to the wall
Take 2 deep breaths and repeat 4-8 times per side
Ahhh doesn’t that feel better?
Now that your limbs have had a stretch, don’t forget to give your eyes a break as well! Follow the 20/20 rule - every 20 minutes shift your eyes from your screen to an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
All of these moves work to give you better posture and in turn better breath! Adding this quick stretch routine to your workday is a great way to break up your day and un-desk your body!