Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Make the Chair your Friend

Chairs really take a beating these days. They're the source of a lot of our physical misery. We spend too long in chairs. We stay in chairs and don't get out of them and then we rot and our bodies go into spasm and illness sets in and it's all bad.

I even read an article recently in the wonderful publication, Nutrition Action, which described a doctor who has gotten rid of all chairs in his office and replaced them with treadmills and Stairmasters. He recommends to his clients that when the phone rings they stand up, creating a habit of moving around during the day. I think all of that makes a lot of sense.

I also don't see us replacing the chair with anything in the future. Our butts are in chairs. We can use the chairs we're in to help us stretch and be more comfortable so we can spend even longer in those chairs. Some people may even call it "chair yoga."

I've led a set of exercises to "lunch and learn" office groups. I've shown small classes some of these moves. You, too, can use a chair to do you some good!

Here's some of what you can do using a chair.

Seated Six Movements of the Spine

First 2 movements: Sit up and lean back, then exhale forwards so your back rounds down and your head goes towards the floor. Do that a few times.
Next 2 movements: Lean into the arm of one side and stretch your other arm up over head so the spine is being stretch laterally (sideways). Do it with breath, inhaling to centre, exhaling to the other side or hold it over on one side for a few breaths and then switch sides.
Last 2 movements: Place your feet firmly on the floor, sit up straight and then grab hold of the side of the chair and twist to one side. Keep lengthening the spine as you inhale and twist a little more to the side as you exhale. Do this for 3-6 breaths on one side and switch to the other side.

Hip Stretch

Cross one leg over the other so the ankle is resting on the thigh, knee off to the side. Reach down with your hands to try and touch the foot on the floor. Hang out there for a couple of breaths and go over to the other side.

One More

This one is actually a standing pose, just using the chair as a prop. If your chair is on wheels make sure you steady it against something before doing this. Stand up behind your chair and begin to walk away from it, holding on to the top of the chair. Your bum will be sticking out behind you and you're taking your torso towards horizontal. It's a leg and back stretch. Once you've got a good spot, stick one hip out just a wee bit so you can feel a long stretch down one side of your body. Hold it for 3-6 breaths and then stick your hip out to the other side.

Those are just a couple of ways to be friendly with your chair :)


XUP said...

Hey, cool. Milan from "a sibilant intake of breath" just posted about moving around when he works, which inspired me to do a post on a similar subject. And now you. We must all be feeling a spring restlessness

Jamine said...

Yea! I think it is a restless period. After such a long winter too. I'm sure people are rebelling in their chairs...