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Family Sports & Fitness

Desk-set Stretches

Age and fitness don’t matter: When you sit at a desk too long your muscles get tight and your mind gets stressed. Short yoga stretches can take the pain out of it all and keep work and studying on track.

Take a few minutes throughout your day to refocus on yourself and reduce burnout, fatigue and tension. These yoga stretches don’t require a mat or workout gear and take just a few minutes to complete. The poses will initiate a stillness that allows you to let go of stress. Repeat them frequently and you’ll notice your stretches get deeper and easier to do. Best of all, they’re not huge moves, so no one around you may even know you’re doing them!

Shoulder Stretch (Gomukhasana)
Lengthens the spine, stretches the lower back (helping to reduce sciatic pain), opens up the chest and diaphragm to improve breathing, and reduces tension headaches by stretching the shoulders.
   1. Sit back in your chair with both feet on the ground.
   2. Pull in your abdomen.
   3. Take your right arm over your head while placing your left arm behind your back.
   3. Slowly extend both arms and attempt to clasp your right and left palms together.
       (Do not force the stretch.)
   4. Hold the pose for 20 seconds then repeat on the other side.

Torso Twist (Bharadvjasana)
Relieves arthritis pain in lower back, reduces neck and shoulder stiffness, refreshes the back muscles, exercises the abdominal muscles and improves circulation.
   1. Stand up and place both arms at your side with your feet facing forward.
       Keep shoulders relaxed.
   2. Carefully twist your upper body to the left side while pulling in your abdomen
       and taking in a long, deep breath.
   3. Slowly release the breath and hold the pose for about 20 seconds.
   3. Repeat on the other side

Boat Pose (Modified Navasava)
Strengthens core and lower back while reducing tension in the abdomen.
   1. Sit on the edge of a desk chair, reach around and hold onto the sides or the
       back of the seat. Lean back 45 degrees, elbows bent for support while
       contracting your abs.
   2. Keeping your legs bent at a 45-degree angle, lift your feet from the floor. Hold
       for five seconds, breathing in and out through your nose. Release.
     • To increase the challenge, extend your legs away from you while contracting
        your abs. Hold for five seconds and then pull your legs back in, with your knees
        and chest towards each other.
   1. Repeat 5 – 10 times.

Half Fire Log Pose (Half Agnistamabasana)
Relieves tension in the hips, pelvis, hamstrings and lower back. Excellent pose for those who have been sitting for long periods of time.
   1. Sit firmly on a chair with your feet flat on the floor hip-distance apart, knees bent
       at a 90-degree angle.
   2. Place your right foot on top of your left knee, keeping both knees bent at 90
       degrees. Your left foot should remain flat on the floor.
   3. Sit up tall and erect. Slowly push your right knee back down towards the floor as
       far as you can go without feeling pain. Your right foot should be slightly flexed.
   4. Hold for five long, deep breaths. Switch sides and repeat.

Chair Pose (Uttkatasana)
Strengthens ankles, thighs, calves, quads and spine while opening the shoulder and chest; improves breathing and increases balance and circulation.
   1. Stand in front of a chair with your feet and knees together. Bend your knees up
       to 90 degrees. Use your chair seat as a reference point for your squat, not as
       a support. Your glutes should barely touch the seat.
   2. Pull in your abdomen and raise your arms over your head, placing your elbows
       by your ears with your fingers together. Reach straight up with your shoulder
       blades sliding down your back. Hold for 3 – 5 breaths.
   3. Rest and repeat.

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