If you have diabetes, keep your health on track. Thirty minutes of exercise can reduce the risk of diabetes by 40%!! Keep flexible and strong with these simple exercises — all of which you can do in your chair. Sitting for long periods is surprisingly tiring and as we tire, so do our muscles, which makes our posture slump. Sitting slumped becomes a habit and this further aggravates poor posture. Try these moves to stretch and strengthen your body and get fit while you sit!
Simple neck stretches
Use this exercise regularly to stay fit and ease your neck during any time spent stationary in front of a computer or TV screen.
*Relax your shoulders and rest your hands in your lap. Look ahead, chin tucked in, so that the back of your head is in line with your back.
*Keep your gaze level and chest facing forward. Turn your head to the right until you feel a gentle stretch in your neck.
*Breathe gently as you hold for a count of 5.
*Return to the centre. Repeat on the other side.
*Repeat sequence 3 times.
Strengthens your neck and helps ease pain and tension, keeping you fit while you sit. *Engage core muscles and place your hands on the back of your head with fingers interlaced.
*Gently push your head against your hands, holding firm while you do so to feel the resistance and engagement in your neck muscles.
*Hold for a count of 5. Relax.
*Repeat, holding for a count of 10. Relax.
*Repeat the sequence.
This exercise keeps you fit by targeting and strengthening your trapezius muscle (which is in your neck and back).
*Leave your arms relaxed by your sides.
*Raise your shoulders as high as you can, as if you were trying to touch your ears.
*Hold for a count of 5, then relax.
* Repeat 10 times.
Strengthens your upper back
*With your arms relaxed and by your sides, rotate your shoulders up towards the ears, forwards, down and back in circles.
*Repeat 5 times in one direction, then rotate up, backwards, down and forwards in the other direction.
*Repeat 10 times.
You can do this exercise while standing up if you prefer.
*Extend your arms out to the side.
*Working from the shoulder, rotate both arms in small circles.
*Rotate in one direction for 10 circles.
*Repeat in the other direction for 10.
*Repeat the sequence 3 times.
To improve circulation and strengthen the muscles of your bottom and lower back.
*Deliberately tense and hold the muscles in your buttocks for a count of 10.
*Release and repeat 10 times.
*Aim to do this exercise several times a day.
Extend into the… Gentle backward stretch
*With clenched buttocks, breathe in deeply and engage your core muscles, lift the chest up and lean back, stretching up and out from the waist. Keep the hips strong and grounded in your chair. Hold for a count of 10 then relax.
*Repeat three times.
Cactus shoulder stretch
Stabilises your shoulders and upper back.
*Raise both arms to the side at shoulder level.
*Bend your arms upwards at the elbow, palms forward.
*In this ‘cactus’ position, gently push back to activate the muscles between your shoulder blades and spine. Hold for a count of 3.
*Now, round your shoulders, bring your arms to the front and line your forearms up against each other in a ‘prayer’ position. Hold for a count of 3.
*Repeat this sequence 5 times.
To get Fit while you Sit, make sure you…
*Keep your head aligned above your shoulders, with your chin tucked in.
*Sit upright and back into the seat of your chair using the Chair’s lumbar support, or a small cushion to help support your lower back.
*Keep your thighs at a right angle to your hips and your feet flat on the floor. If you need to use a low footstool to maintain this position comfortably, do.
*Keep shoulders relaxed, with your upper arms and
elbows close to your body.