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Sitting at your desk all day? 6 quick stretches to improve posture

If you’re hunched over a laptop all day, you’re not alone. Many of us now work from home for at least part of the week. While this may bring convenience (putting the laundry on or doing the school pickup) our equipment setup at home doesn’t always provide optimum alignment for our bodies.


It’s important to make sure your desk is the right height and the top of your screen is at eye level. If possible, ask your employer for a monitor, and a separate keyboard and mouse can help too.


Easier said than done but be aware of your posture while you’re working. It’s easy to let the chin glide forwards as you peer at the screen or allow the shoulders to round forwards. Instead, consciously engage your core (imagine you have a wide belt or corset on and do it up a couple of notches). Lengthen your spine and make sure you’re looking straight ahead with your shoulders sliding down the back and away from the ears. Take a few deep breaths (into the sides, the ribs and the back) throughout the day.


Take regular breaks and try the following sequence to mobilise the spine:


1. Take both arms up to the ceiling on the inhale and bend elbows down towards waist on the exhale. Focus on squeezing your shoulders together as you bring the elbows down. Repeat a few times.


2. Take arms to cactus position (elbows out to side at 90 degrees, level with shoulders, palms forwards). Inhale and gently lift chest towards ceiling, exhale to lower. Squeeze shoulders together slightly as you extend the spine.


3. Rolldown from standing – imagine standing against a wall, tuck the chin and round the shoulders forward, start to roll down towards the floor, bending the knees slightly. As your fingertips reach the floor and the crown of your head is pointing downwards, take an inhale. Exhale and slowly start to uncurl the spine one vertebra at a time until you reach your start position.


4. Imagine hugging a big beach ball – stretch between the shoulder blades with fingertips touching and the chin slightly tucked, then take the arms down by your sides or slightly back behind you and lift the chest slightly towards the ceiling.


5. Put both arms out in front of you at shoulder height, palms facing each other. Inhale and, keeping the hips facing forwards, exhale to bring one elbow behind you and look over the shoulder. Inhale back to the start and do the other side, gently twisting the spine.


6. Take one arm up to the ceiling. Exhale to lengthen and reach up and over the body into a side bend. Release the arm down and do a couple on each side.


Doing this regularly will keep the spine mobile and healthy and give you the opportunity to be aware of your body’s position as you work. Remember those Pilates fundamentals!


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