Tabitha shares her top tips on exercising at your desk without getting off your bum
Working in an office chair can cause all sorts of pains – or irritate existing ones. You may find that your lower back becomes stiffer, sorer and more tired as the day progresses, and opportunities to move about are hard to find. Instead of enduring the pain or abandoning your post, try these gentle, easy and fast exercises – each of them targets lower back pain, and all can be done without leaving your chair!
Place your feet flat on the ground, hip width apart, with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees (adjust your chair height if necessary).
Rock your pelvis forwards and backwards to find where your pelvis becomes level – check that you have a small curve in your lower back and that you're sitting up on your sit bones.
Grow tall from there, gently drawing the shoulders back and down a fraction and imagine you're holding a mango between your chin and your chest.
Hold that posture for 30 seconds, adding 30s each subsequent day to wake up your core postural muscles which support your spine. Try linking it to an activity you have to do regularly, like answering emails!
Seated slow march
Set yourself up in the active sitting posture (see above). Take a deep, wide breath in to prepare. As you breathe out, lift your pelvic floor, deepen your naval to your spine and maintain that posture as you slowly lift one leg up just enough to lift your knee from the seat. Do not rock your pelvis!
Hold there for a deep, wide breath in. As you breathe out, lift your pelvic floor, deepen your navel to your spine and lower your foot (in a controlled way) to the ground.
Do the same on the other side and repeat for a total of four on each leg. The exercise will challenge your core muscles so that they continue to support your back throughout the work day.
Push your chair away from your desk and lean right forward over your legs, hugging around your knees. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and then come back up gradually. You should feel a gentle stretch in your lower back.
Reverse the car
Set yourself up in the active sitting posture (see above). Place your right hand on your left knee, and reach your left arm around to hold the back of the chair, turning through your spine as if you're reversing your car.
Stay there for 20 seconds, growing tall through the spine and breathing deep and wide. Repeat on the other side. You may feel this stretch in your back, chest or shoulders.
Set yourself up in the active sitting posture (see above). Rest your right foot on top of your left knee. Push the right knee down gently with your right hand as you lean forward through your trunk. Hold for 30 seconds then repeat on the left. You should feel this stretch in your buttock muscles.
You can do these in any combination, and try out what works best for you. When you activate your core muscles like this then you will relieve pain both now and in the future!