Sep 172012

As many office workers know all too well, maintaining good posture and strong core muscles can be difficult when you sit at a desk all day. At times it seems impossible to get a tight core without changing jobs to … say … a lumberjack?

But guess what — there are plenty of exercises you can do to strengthen your core while at the office. Some of these you can do without your coworkers even knowing you’re working out! These exercises will make your core tighter and stronger, which in turn makes it easier to sit for long periods of time. Just make sure you use a sturdy chair for the seated exercises!

Try these out:

1. Use an exercise ball. One of the easiest switches you can make in your workday to improve your core strength is to use an exercise ball instead of a chair. By sitting on an exercise ball, you’re forced to balance all day, and your posture will improve as well because you’ll be less inclined to slouch. Exercise balls strengthen your upper and lower abs, obliques and hip flexors, all without you having to think about it. Exercise/stability balls suitable for sitting on will be 55 or 65 cm in diameter. Your legs should form a right angle when you sit with feet hip width apart, feet underneath knees.

2. Isometric squeeze. Isometric exercises are perfect for the office, because they don’t require any movement at all. Simply sit straight and tall in your chair and contract your abs — hard — for several seconds, making sure to breathe the entire time. Release and repeat several times. Make sure you’re really focusing on making your muscles tight rather than just sucking in your stomach.

3. Sitting crunch. Get ready — you’re going to look a little odd for this one. Sit in your chair with feet flat on the floor (move forward to the edge if you need to) and knees bent. Rest your hands lightly on the side or back of your head, and tip body back, bracing through the abdomen. Rise slowly back to a vertical position. Do several repetitions.

4 . Sitting March- Sitting upright in chair with rib cage lifted, do marching movements with one foot and then the other.

5. Sitting twist. Sit up straight in your chair and place your hands on behind your head. Now raise one knee while simultaneously rotating your trunk to touch that knee with your opposite elbow. Try to stay long through the spine with rib cage lifted. Switch sides and repeat continuously for 30 seconds.

6. Leg pull-ins. Sit at the forward edge of your chair with your legs straight and place your hands behind you, grabbing hold of the seat on either side. Lift your legs a few inches off the ground and lean back a little without resting on the chair. Now crunch your body inward: Lean forward and simultaneously pull your knees in toward your chest. Return to starting position and repeat several times.

7. Plank position. Rest your hands firmly near the edge of a sturdy desk, then take a few steps back until your body forms a diagonal with the floor. Keeping your body tight and straight, hold the position for as long as you can, or at least 30 seconds, focusing on bracing through the abdomen, tightening your glutes, and keeping your back straight. Also make sure to breathe continuously. Over time, when this starts to feel easy, this can be done kneeling on elbows (buttocks higher is easiest) or with toes curled under and elbows on the floor or on top of the stability ball.

Practice these exercises a few times a week, and soon your core will be so strong, no one will guess you sit at a desk all day.

About the Author:
Patty Englebaugh founded ErgoStoreOnline.com in 1993. She has 19
years of experience installing ergonomic office furniture and computer accessories that create healthy work environments in home and corporate offices as well as in the healthcare, education, government, and business sectors. You can reach her Mon-Fri 8-6pm EST for one-on-one support for your ergonomic needs: (877) 971-0151.

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