From technological advances, including smartphones, TV and office-based jobs, never before have we lived in such sedentary positions.
Think of all the times during the day when you scroll aimlessly through your phone, answer messages or catch up on a certain nightly TV series. This is the perfect time to add some movement into your day.
This is where downtime comes in. Pilates Instructor Nathalie Clough takes us through different exercises to move your spine, help to build strength, and improve your posture.
Maybe pick one to do each day of the week - Sunday being a rest day and all that - or set yourself reminders to do one; when the kettle boils in the morning, whilst you listen to the radio, during your work from home day, or the really obvious one, while you're watching TV.
In the time it takes to boil a kettle:
Great for: strengthening the core Repetition: every morning Set up: Knees bent, feet, flat, lying on your back. Curl the head neck and shoulders off the mat, reaching the arms long down your sides. Lift the legs up to table top (90o) if neck doesn’t pull. Action: Vigorously pump the arms up and down; inhale for count of 5 and exhale for count of 5. To watch out for: neck pulling; rest the head down or lift higher off the mat - keep your eyes on the belly
In the time it takes to listen to the morning news:
Half Roll Back
Great for: articulating the spine / opens up the lower back Time: Listening to the morning news Repetition: morning and / or evening Set up: Feet hip socket width apart in parallel, sitting on your sit bones with your tailbone under. Hold the back of the knees, elbows wide, shoulders relaxed.
Action: Inhale sit tall, exhale roll back towards to the mat, elbows straighten but hands stay. Take a breath in, exhale pull the belly button away from the thighs and use this to bring yourself back up To watch out for: not hinging from the hips, drop the spine towards the mat one vertebrae at a time, then reverse back up
In the time it takes to watch a TV ad:
Great for: strengthens the back and mobilises the mid/upper spine Repetition: morning and / or evening Set up: place one hand on top of the other, resting the forehead on the hands and keep the elbows wide. Lightly press the hips bones, pubic bone and feet into the mat
Action: Lift the belly button away from the mat to engage the abs, lift the head heart and hands up, hold for 3 counts, lower slowly
To watch out for: not sagging into the lower back by lifting too high
In the time it takes to catch up on the phone with a friend:
Great to: strengthen the core and the back, particularly scapular stability
Repetition: 2-4 times a week
Set up: set up the forearm on the mat, elbow directly under the shoulder. Keep the rest of the
body in line (shoulder, hips and heels) knees bent. Top arm pressing strongly into the side.
Action: Lift the hips, press the underside and hold the position keeping the hips still, shoulders stacked; hold for 3 counts and lower slowly. Repeat 5 times and either side
To watch out for: the elbow too far out and tension referring into the neck, also twisting of the hips
In the time it takes to dial into a zoom meeting:
Great to: strengthen the user back and open the chest Repetition: 2-5 times a week Set up: sit in a comfortable position, hands together just above the head, elbows wide. Action: keeping the elbows back start to straighten up the arms towards the ceiling
To watch out for: elbows creeping forward when the arms extend
In the time it takes for a lunch break:
Great to: strengthen the glutes and keep the hips stable Repetition: 2-5 times a week Set up: lie on your side aligning up the head, shoulders and hips, bring your knees to 90o Action: lift the top leg up parallel to the bottom one, lift and lower (don't let them touch). If you fancy an added burn tap the heel to there other one, then the knee to the other one, repeat for another ad break
To watch out for: the ankle bone coming up higher than the knee