Physical activity is important in our everyday life. However, office workers tend to forget the importance of keeping their bodies active throughout the day, as their work tends to be very immersive. The result of these actions is back pain while sitting on your chair and knee pain when sitting for long periods, among many other physical complaints.
While most of these conditions can improve with a change in your sitting habits, it's not a secret for anyone that certain exercising techniques can help you alleviate the pain and reduce the impact that being seated for too long has on your body.
For that reason, today, we’ll be describing different Alexander techniques or desk exercises that you can do at the office to help you go through your day and improve your quality of life in the long term. All you need to do is take a few minutes off your time to implement these easy workouts into your routine.
What is the “Alexander Technique”?
Before we start, let’s begin by defining what this technique actually is. It was Frederick Matthias Alexander who invented these exercises back in 1869. The man focused on the alignment of the body via different means, primarily by sitting and standing. He also integrated breathing and resting in certain positions to contribute to the same purpose. All of these methods are utilized to release the “tension” that our bodies might be holding.
Many researchers have studied this technique and have compared it to yoga and massages. Some of the benefits that these Alexander technique exercises can bring to your life include reduced back pain and more relaxation during your day.
3 Alexander Technique Exercises To Do at the Office
There are multiple Alexander technique exercises for back pain you can choose to follow to improve your current condition. Please, keep in mind that these exercises focus on “releasing” the tension your muscles might be holding.
Below we describe some of the most popular (and easier to execute) for you to get started with it. These exercises are appropriate for the office and any other environment.
1. Stand Up
For the first Alexander technique back exercise, you need to sit down. Try not to think too much about standing up and focus on releasing the tension that your neck might be holding – if you do so, you'll see that your head rolls forward.
Now, continue the exercise by following the instructions below:
- Place your feet closer to your body.
- Next up, use your hips to incline your body forward.
- Don’t apply pressure to your back. Focus on making your feet carry your whole weight by pushing the floor.
- Now, slowly stand without adding any pressure to your spine.
This exercise is extremely easy. You can repeat it multiple times a day. It works best if you accompany it with the next technique, too.
2. Sit Down
Now that you’ve stood up, it’s time to sit down. You can begin this exercise by softening your knees. Try not to lock them – and if they already are, please, release the tension. You can do so by flexing them a little bit.
Now, follow the instructions below to continue with the exercise:
- Try to sit by sending your hips backward while maintaining your knees forward.
- Slowly direct your body down the chair. Try not to involve your spine, including your neck. Do it until you’re able to sit down.
- If you notice stiffness in your spine or neck, please, stand up and try to perform the exercise again.
It sounds a bit complicated, but remember that the focus of these exercises is to release tension from the areas that are most affected by being seated for too long. If you’ve been getting neck pain from your office chair, it may be hard to perform at first. However, after a while, you’ll get the hang of it. You can also take a look at the best way to sit with lower back pain for more information on how to correct your posture.
3. Constructively Resting
The next Alexander technique exercise for back pain is all about lying on the floor. It must be on the floor or at least a hard surface. If you don't want to touch the floor, you can place a yoga mat or something similar. You can also use a pillow for your head. You must keep your hands relaxed at each side, or perhaps put them on your stomach, whatever makes you feel comfortable. This exercise is excellent for lower back pain.
Now, start the exercise by following the instructions below:
- Lay on the floor. You can choose to keep your eyes open if you want.
- Try bending your knees slightly, but make sure to keep the tension levels at a minimum. Do so until your feet are flat on the floor. If you feel like your knees are too tense, take a look at this list of leg exercises sitting to improve that situation.
- Let your body lay on the floor. You'll notice how all the tension you may have accumulated starts fading away. Your torso will start expanding throughout the exercise.
- Instead of focusing on your body’s sensations, try to focus on your breath.
- Lay like that for at least 10 minutes (and up to 15 minutes) for the exercise to be more effective.
The Bottom Line
We have different ways to improve our condition and make our bodies more comfortable while we’re working. These Alexander technique exercises are an excellent way of preventing tension from accumulating even further and making your joints stiff. If you forget to exercise, try setting up reminders on your phone to make sure that you perform at least one of these workouts every day.
We also recommend taking a look at some meditation exercises if you want to keep your mind uncluttered and free of potentially harmful thoughts while you're working. These methods can also contribute positively to your body. After all, a healthy mind will ultimately result in a healthy body.
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