Increase your posture and get smoother during office hours
by Sanne Clifford
Today I was giving two workshops at Dutch radio and television broadcaster AVROTROS and it was great to see how much can be done for the body & mind’s well-being in already a short time. Most of these employees spend a lot of time sitting behind computers or in meeting rooms and after today’s half an hour body awareness break, each group positively transformed in their energy, posture and state of mind. Do you have similar job circumstances and have the wish to include practical body awareness moments in your workday? Then this blog post is for you!
Despite the hours of movement and training you might do next to your working life, the hours of sitting, hanging and being quite disconnected from the body for around 8 hours in a row, have a big effect on how you feel and perform during the day. With some simple exercises you can create a few easy going new habits to get smoother through the day with care for your posture, mobility in your body and a relaxed mind. Try all of these office proof exercises, select the ones you like most (at least 3!) and create your own daily habit. Please know this does not replace any kind of active movement, training or sports! These tips are a little help to tune in with your body & mind relationship during an office day.
Here you go:
- Smooth shoulders
Sit up straight and roll both shoulders 5 times as smooth as you can, circling from front to back. Then breathe in while you lift both shoulders as high as you can. When you breathe out, drop the shoulders down at once. Repeat this one more time. Keep the back of your neck long for a bigger effect in your release.
- Arm circles
You can do this one both standing and sitting. Stand or sit up straight, bring your head down to your right (ear to shoulder) and then bend slightly to your right side with your upper body. Drop the right arm down and keep it relaxed. Then start circling the arm to the open side, clock wise. Keep the shoulder relaxed while you do this for at least 30 seconds or 25 times. Slowly come back to a straight position and try to feel both shoulders and arms. You will probably feel a difference. Then repeat it on you left side.
- Cat & Cow
When standing, place your feet underneath your hips and bend both knees. Place your hands on your upper thighs with the fingers looking in. Curve your spine making your back round: tuck your tail bone under, belly button in, shoulder blades wide & chin down. Then go the opposite way, still feeling your abdominals in a subtle way & the hands connected to the upper legs. Chest opens and lifts. Look diagonal up or to your front. Repeat the movements a few times in a row without stopping in between. If you prefer doing this sitting, make sure you are on the front side of your chair so you have space to sit behind the sit bones when your back is round.
- Wrap around
Stand up and make sure you have some space around you. Step your feet a bit wider than your hips and start moving your pelvis to your right side and make the arms follow and swipe and wrap around your body. The moment the swing is ending you move from your pelvis to the other side. Keep the movement going and the shoulders down and relaxed. Focus side to side, taking clear spots on the wall or around you so you don’t get dizzy.
If you are not comfortable doing this next to your desk, find another more quiet space like next to the copy machine or the toilets!
- Follow your fingertips
A more playful way of moving, as you can decide your own directions in this one. Start with one hand and make your fingers long and pointing. Then start moving the fingers in the space around you, for example in a circle from left down next to you to over your head to the other side. Let them go behind you, down, up, like a roller-coaster. The rest of the body will move along and gets smoother on the way. Keep the movement on going, only stop for a second when you change sides. If you are really into it, you can even do both hands at the same side, if will become your own little dance! You can vary in the standing and sitting version.
- Handy face (or lower back)
Rub your hands firmly for some time (maybe even grip them once or twice in between) and place them on your face. Breath in deeply, hold your breath for just a few seconds or as long as you want to, then breath out slowly and swipe your hands down towards your neck and shoulders. You can do the same but placing the hands on your lower back in stead of face and when breathing out you swipe the hands down as well.
It’s one thing to try them, but another thing to include these exercises into your daily routine. Here are two tips for playful integration:
- When you start to work in the morning, set 2 to 3 alarms during your working period (handy if you have a glance in your calendar so it’s not during a specific important meeting). Each time your alarm goes off you have to do at least one of the exercises.
- Get a dice and put it on your desk. Each time you see the dice or give it some kind of attention you roll it and do the exercise that fits the number on the dice and above.
Also great to include in your working day: go take a walk and bring a notebook, but not your phone. It works best to go outside, but if this is not possible just walk through the building and make sure nobody makes you stop. Al your ideas, things in your head can be written in your notebook while walking, so you don’t carry them along. With some companies it’s part of the daily structure to always walk around the building at the end of lunchtime. Maybe this can work for you and your colleagues as well!
I’m very curious about your findings and experience while applying above tips and tasks. Let me know in a comment below! Having trouble with the tasks? Email us your story and receive a free video that demonstrates these tasks, so it’s easy to copy and remember!