If you're stuck sitting all day, everyday, then try this easy office-friendly pilates exercise you can do at your desk or anywhere!
It's #WorkoutWednesday here on MHE!!!!! Woot woot!!
Why am I so excited about it? Well, I've taken an unintentional break from WW and I'm super excited to bring it back with THIS awesome post. Let me set the stage...
I work part time at a University here in North Florida. I love my job, but the one thing I don't like is that when I'm not in class, I sit a lot. And I mean A LOT!! I sit so much (grading, emailing, more grading, planning, calling... you get the idea) that I truly felt my body negatively respond this past spring. I've felt more stiff, especially in my back, and I didn't feel like my fitness level is where I preferred, all from just sitting.
Does anyone else know what I'm talking about??????
Ugh, it's the pits. Even though this is par for the course with an office job, I refuse to accept this sitting-in-a-chair-all-day destiny, and neither should you.
Fortunately, our department hired someone super cool this year, named Frances (pictured below), and she happens to occupy the office next to mine. =) Why is she so cool? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but the one that I would like to highlight today is that she is a Pilates instructor.
Frances is a legit Pilates instructor. By that I mean she walks the Pilates walk. She has great posture, she has a standing work station, she holds stretching breaks for anyone interested... Yeah, she is just that cool.
Being the ADD person I am (self diagnosed), I cannot just sit and do one task in my office for too-too long. So many days I wonder to Frances' office to chat for a minute, often while heating up some water for tea.
One day, after describing my new back woes to Frances, she whipped out a box of her stretchy bands and showed me an exercise I can do to counteract all my sitting: Pilates squats. She said it helps lengthens out the back and gets the blood flowing to your whole body.
After doing a set of these Pilates squats with Frances, I immediately felt reenergized and my muscles felt limber again. My back felt some relief too! Truly, this exercise works your whole body, which is my favorite kind of exercise.
I now keep a band in my office and stop to do this exercise whenever I've been sitting too long. You can do it with pretty much any outfit on (except maybe a short skirt, ahem) and you won't break a sweat, unless you want to.
So without further ado, here is Frances' Pilates squats.
Office Pilates Squats Instructions:
- Center the band around your mid to upper back, whichever is more comfortable for you. Grasp an end of the band in each hand, grabbing closer to the center of the band for more resistance and grabbing closer to the ends of the band for less resistance. Your arms should be in a 90º angle.
- Tighten your ab/core muscles like you are zipping up a pair of tight, high-waisted pants. Take a deep breath in. Then, as you exhale, pull your arms out away from your chest while sitting your rear end back, as if sitting in a chair.
- The goal is have your quads be parallel to the floor and your knees should not be in front of your toes. As you can see from my picture, my quads are not parallel yet, but that is the goal. You can put your desk chair right behind you so that you tap the seat with your rear when you sit back. I find this helps me squat further.
- When exhaling, use your ab muscle to push the air out of your belly. I think of it as flattening my belly to push out the air.
- As you inhale, return your arms in to your side and rise back up, using your rear end and legs to push you up. With the inhale, tighten your core again as if you were zipping up those tight pants.
- Exhale and squat down while pulling your arms out.
- Inhale and rise. Repeat for a set of 10-15.
A therapy band is good to use here (I LOVE this set with the door anchor) but you don't have to have one. Concentrate on solid, controlled motions of your body instead. You can also use two hand weights of any size or weight.
I suggest putting an alert in your computer or phone calendar to go off at the same time everyday to remind you to do these pilates squats. I prefer to do 3 sets of 15 at a time and will take a 1 minute break in between sets. Doing 3 sets of 15 squats takes me 5 minutes or less.
Take this as a little encouragement to get up out of that desk chair (like NOW) and move your body a bit. Grab a desk neighbor and teach them this nifty exercise too. Everyone will be feeling great when you're done!
To working out at work,