5 Minutes of Office Therapy – Easy Exercises to Protect Your Back

Office Exercises – an Investment Into Your Back Health

Office exercises are an easy and effective way to keep your back healthy. Everybody’s posture deviations are different and have to be addressed individually. At the same time, if you sit in front of the computer all day long, you should invest into your back health by doing simple office exercises.  You can do them right in the office.

Please follow this routine in sequence. Do not pick and choose among the exercises—do them in order. Repeat equally on both sides. Stop if the exercise causes pain. Feel free to take another 5-minute exercise break whenever you feel your body needs it.
Do these office exercises daily. If possible, please remove your shoes.

Sequence

  • Sitting in Extension: 1 minute
  • Sitting Arm Circles: 10 – 20 repetitions in each direction
  • Sitting Hip Flexor Lifts: 10 repetitions on each side
  • Sitting Chair Twist: 20-30 seconds each side
  • Sitting Cats and Dogs: 10 repetitions

Word of caution: Although unlikely, some of these office exercises may feel uncomfortable or even painful. In this case, you can do one of the following: decrease the time, decrease the number of repetitions, or skip the exercise altogether. Listen to your body, do not force it. Pain or discomfort during an exercise is a signal that something in your body is out of alignment.

Sitting in Extension

Sit up straight on the edge of a chair or bench.

Sitting in Extension position
Sitting in Extension

Keep your feet and knees pointed straight ahead and hip width apart.
Let your arms hang down at your sides, or be placed in your lap
Roll your hips forward to place an arch in your low back while
pulling your shoulders back into extension.
Don’t yank your shoulders back – shoulders, and hips must go together.
Keep your feet in place. Balance the weight on both cheeks of your buttocks.
Breathe.
Hold for 1 minute and then relax.

If you do this exercise regularly, you will not need or want a fancy ergonomic desk chair. This exercise works on your posture by transferring the work from the lumbar spine to the pelvis.

Sitting Arm Circles

  • Sit up straight on the edge of a chair or bench.
  • Keep your feet and knees pointed straight ahead and hip width apart.
  • Roll your pelvis forward to place a small arch in your low back and hold  this  position throughout the exercise.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together slightly and extend your arms  straight out  from your sides up to shoulder level.
Sitting arm circles ecise
Sitting Arm Circles
  • Curl your fingertips to your palms; point your thumbs out straight ahead.  This is  called a golfers grip.
  • With palms facing down and thumbs pointing straight forward rotate  your hands up and forward in approximately 6 inch circles. Do 10 to 20  times.
  • Then reverse direction: palms should now face up, with thumbs pointed straight backward. Still squeezing your shoulder blades together, rotate your hands up and backward, and repeat the same number of times.
  • During the exercise be sure to keep your arms straight and at shoulder level.
  • While doing the circles, keep the elbows straight. The rotation must be in the shoulders.

This exercise works on your posture by promoting hip extension and strengthening the muscles of the upper body.

Sitting Hip Flexor Lifts

sitting-hip-flexor-lifts-02
  • Sit up straight on the edge of a chair or bench.
  • Keep your feet and knees pointed straight ahead and hip width apart.
  • Let your arms hang down at your sides, or be placed in your lap.
  • Roll your hips forward to place an arch in your low back.
  • Lift one foot about 3 inches off the floor and then lower; repeat 10 times.
  • Switch sides and repeat 10 times again.
  • Maintain the arch in your back, keeping your hips rolled forward throughout the exercise.

 

Use your front hip muscles to generate the movement. It may be  beneficial to sit facing a  mirror to observe if you lean to the side  or lift with the hips – do not let this happen.

Keep the lift to an inch or less, otherwise the thigh muscles will be  bypassed.
This exercise is a deceptively simple strengthening routine for the hip flexor muscles.

Sitting Cats and Dogs

Sitting Cat and Dog
  • Sit up straight on the edge of a chair or bench.
  • Keep your feet and knees pointed straight ahead and hip width apart.
  • For the CAT position: Roll your hips backward to take the arch out of the back.
  • Your back should be in flexion now. But do not force the upper torso farther than its natural stopping point, where the muscles are fully relaxed.
  • For the DOG position: Roll your hips forward to place the arch into your low back.
  • Slowly pull your head, shoulders, and hips back into extension.
  • Feel the arch in your lower back as your head moves back to the rear.
  • Head, shoulders, and hips should be aligned and pointing straight at the ceiling.
  • When you get there, pause for half a beat, and slowly relax, letting the back. round forward and shoulders, neck, and head come with it into the cat position.
  • Slowly move back and forth between the Cat and Dog positions.
  • Link each Cat and Dog into a smooth, continuous series.
  • Repeat 10 times. Remember to breathe.

This exercise is about as close as you can come to do-it-yourself back massage. Not only does it feel good, it promotes flexion and extension of the entire spine by initiating pelvic flexors and back extensors.

I hope you enjoyed your 5-minute break. Do not underestimate the effectiveness of these simple office exercises. You will feel more upright.

If you have any questions, you may contact me at posturefit@yahoo.com or by phone at 978-424-1303

 

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