So many of us are in that routine now of working from home and sitting at the laptop all day. Some may have proper desks and chairs, others using the sofa or some kind of improvised work space. We are not making our typical commute anymore either so that morning and evening movement to get to work and back has also gone.
Simply put we are moving less and sitting more which leads to a physical and mental slump.
I’ve put together 5 really simple exercises that will shake up your mind and body in the best way; increasing oxygen to the brain and all of the parts of the body that need it, releasing tension in your joints, releasing the happy hormones and reducing the stress hormones.
5 minutes is all you need – Do each exercise for 1 minute
1) Breathing energiser – This will give you a blast of oxygen to the brain and the body and leave you feeling more awake and energised.
- Begin seated on a chair with your back straight and supported
- Both feet on the ground (legs uncrossed)
- Inhale through the nose and raise your arms up hands outstretched
- Exhale through the mouth and bring your arms down with your hands in a fist
- Deep inhale and a powerful exhale as though you are releasing all the tension in you
- Start off taking 3 seconds for the inhale and 3 seconds for the exhale
2) Marching on the spot – A gentle on the joints movement that gets the flow of oxygen moving around the body as well as increasing the heart rate to give you a mental and physical boost.
- Stand up straight and begin with both arms by your sides
- Relax your shoulders down away from your ears
- Engage your core to keep yourself upright
- Then bring one knee up and then down straight away placing your foot back on the ground
- Switch to the other knee and repeat this process
- Allow your arms to swing naturally with the movement
- Go as fast or slow as feels right for you, your aim is to feel a slight increase in the heart rate
3) Tall stretch – I love this stretch as it releases tension ALL the way down each side of my body and leaves me feeling lighter and more flexible.
- Stand straight with your feet hip width apart and with soft knees (not locked out)
- Bring your left arm straight up (no leaning over to the side)
- Tuck your chin down slightly to release any compression on the back of your neck
- Stretch up towards the ceiling and take deep, slow breaths to really enjoy the stretch
- Repeat on the right side
- Hold each side stretch for 30 seconds
4) Forward fold – Another of my all-time favourites, this exercise feels like letting go of tension in my head, shoulders and lower back, and at the same time getting a lovely stretch down the back of my legs. With the head below the heart this calms the brain and relieves stress.
- Start standing straight
- Shoulders relaxed, feet hip width apart
- Keep your core engaged for the entire movement
- Tuck your chin towards your chest
- Gently roll down from the hips keeping your knees slightly bent
- Until your hands reach the floor knuckles lightly touching the ground
- Relax your head down so you relieve compression on the back of your neck
- Straighten the legs if it feels right for you
- Breathe deeply allowing the tension to release from your body
- Hang here for 1 minute
5) Childs pose – This is one of my happy places, a moment of stillness where you can leave everything you don’t want or need on the mat. It’s also a great stretch for the back, hips, thighs and ankles. Below is a simple way to enjoy this exercise.
- If you don’t have a mat, a towel will work just fine
- Begin on your hands and knees
- Spread your knees so they are wide and your big toes are touching
- Extend your arms out towards the end of your mat until they are straight
- Gently sit back towards your hips
- Lower your forehead down to the mat until your forehead is touching the mat
- Breathe deeply and slowly soaking up all the stillness
- Hold this pose for 1 minute
- Engage your core to come back up to hands and knees position
Try taking 5 minutes out of your workday to give your brain and body a boost, and see how you feel.