TIPS FROM A TRAINER | 5 EXERCISES FOR PEOPLE WHO WORK AT A DESK
If you work in a position that requires hours of sitting each day, you know that all that office chair time can lead to poor posture, discomfort and poor circulation. Many of these short-term effects of immobility can be alleviated with a series of exercises meant to stretch out and strengthen muscles. Read below for Woodside Personal Trainer Anthony Hernandez’s suggestions for relief.
A short five minutes on the elliptical is enough to get you going. The goal is to get your body in motion and, most importantly, get your heart rate up. Next, you’ll want to thoroughly stretch, with particular focus on stretching your hip flexors. Hip flexors are likely to get tight as you sit, so it’s crucial to give extra attention to that muscle group. Standing or Kneeling Lunge, Seated Butterfly or Figure Four stretches all work great for this.
Ease in with another great stretch that also strengthens – the Glute Bridge. This movement actually strengthens the muscles opposite the hip flexors – the posterior chain.
Be sure to maintain tension in your glutes and abs and keep your body in a straight line from your knee to your hip to your shoulder.
Monster Walks target the glute medius and minimus which are two muscles that are often forgotten. It’s important to give them a workout though, because they provide hip stabilization in support of the glute max.
You will need an exercise band of your preferred resistance level. Be sure to engage the glutes throughout and take small steps to maximize the engagement into the bands. Keep your toes and knees pointing straight ahead and do your best to work both legs evenly.
BANDED LEG EXTENSION
Strong quads are important for getting in and out of your chair. When you sit all day, your quads remain in an extended and inactive position. It’s important to keep this muscle group strong, especially because it is at rest for extended periods each day. A Banded Leg Extension is a great way to activate the quads.
Be sure to attach your resistance band to a sturdy piece of equipment that won’t move. Loop the band directly around the back of your knee. This is a small move – simply apply pressure against the band, then lift and lower your heel slowly and steadily.
It’s also important to target the hamstrings in your quest for loosened hip flexors, and the Romanian Deadlift is a great way to do so. Strong hamstrings help over time to strengthen the posterior chain and remove tightness in the hips.
Make sure you maintain your torso position throughout this movement and keep the bar close to your body. Once you are in the standing position, drive your hips forward slightly until your glutes fully contract. Avoid arching your spine, rounding your shoulders forward and locking your knees.
Sitting for extended periods can result in poor posture. Strengthening your core using a Farmer’s Carry can help to counteract this while also decreasing the likelihood of lower back pain.
This exercise can be done with one weight, targeting one side of the body at a time, or two. In preparation, make sure you engage your core and pull your shoulder blades down and back. Once you are upright and walking, keep your head up, shoulders back and core muscles engaged.
There are longer term health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, so in addition to the tips above, be sure to add breaks in your day to go for a walk, stand up and stretch or add in a short workout intermittently throughout the day.