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Working in your comfort zone... literally

While working from home sounds like a luxury in theory, it's certainly no holiday and being productive is easier said than done. On 16th March 2020, the British government instructed people to work from home where possible. A year on, our research estimates that 60% of us are still working from the confines of our own homes. 26% of people will continue to work from home after lockdown relaxes.

Since working from home there has been an increase mental health and MSK problems, particularly affecting the spine. It was found by a cross sectional analysis in 2020 that neck pain has increased by 50%.

There are many ways Pilates can help to combat working from home.

"Your next posture, is your best posture"

As Pilates instructors we love to talk about posture! Whether you are sat at your desk or dare I say it... on the couch with your laptop on your knee, its very easy to adopt a C-curve posture. Pilates can help you strengthen your body's core, maintain good spinal alignment, keeps you aware of your posture, and improves flexibility, which in turn can help improve your back pain. If you have a desk based job or a job that involves prolonged sitting, it is important to get moving. Our bodies were designed to move not remain stationary for long periods. This also includes jobs that involve standing for prolonged periods for example hairdressers and teachers.


- Getting up and move around every 30-60 mins

- Take a walking lunch brake

- Try some of these simple pilates exercises below

10 simple Pilates exercises to get you moving

This short sequence of Pilates moves can help with back pain and – as every move is easily achievable at a desk – it’s perfect for releasing tension in the body while at work:

1 Core breathing Pilates always starts with your core. To find your core, form a triangle with your hands, placing your thumbs on your belly button. The area within the triangle is your core. While sitting, find your best posture. Inhale and let your torso expand with air, like a balloon. As you exhale, press the air out of your stomach and torso, concentrating on pulling stomach in towards your spine.

2 Neck flexing Sit up tall in your chair and place your head in your hands. Curl your head backwards into your arms, exhale and twist gently towards the right side. Pause at a depth of your twist where you can still breathe deeply and gaze over the right shoulder. After two minutes, repeat on the left-hand side.

3 Back bend Move your body towards the front end of your chair. Ground the soles of your feet on the floor, which will help prepare the lengthening of your spine. Inhale deeply and place both hands, palms facing down, behind your back. Now gently push your body forward. Lower the shoulders and softly relax your head towards the back of the chair. This is an adaptation of the bridge pose – it is renowned for stimulating abdominal organs to regulate metabolism and improve digestion.

4 Shoulder circles Sit upright in your chair. Circle the shoulders back and forth for five reps. The slower you go, the more tension you’ll release.

5 Chin tilt Sit with as much as much space between your shoulders as possible. Gently nod your chin down towards your chest, as if you are trying to hold an orange between your chin and chest. Repeat several times without curling your shoulders or upper back.

6 Ankle flexors Sit in your chair with one leg crossed over the other. Begin to point the toes of the top leg as far away from you as possible, then flex the toes back. Repeat for 10 reps, then change legs.

7 Calf stretches This time, stand up and give yourself a stretch break. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Your feet should be parallel, facing forwards and your core should be engaged. Now bend your knees to your toes and straighten them again. Rise up on to the balls of your feet and slowly come back down to the floor. Repeat for 20 reps.

8 Hip opener Keep one foot firmly on the floor and place your other foot across to your right thigh. Take your right hand and very gently push on the raised thigh. Now twist towards the opposite shoulder and breathe deeply. Aim for a two-minute stretch, then change legs.

9 Leg extension ankle stretch Bring yourself to the edge of your chair. Lift your knee in the air and rest it on your desk. Lift the kneecap and thigh muscle slightly upwards to engage the abdominal muscles. Flex the foot and activate your toes. Sit up as straight as possible and inhale deeply. Stay for 10 breaths, then change legs.

10 Reverse arm stretch Take your arms to the back of your chair and press your palms together, with your fingertips pointing towards the ceiling. Inhale and exhale, until your body feels grounded.

Express Pilates Classes

We also have some shorter express Pilates classes that are perfect to complete pre and post your working day or during your lunch break. These classes will be sure to get you moving and off your seats. Take a look now and get moving!

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