Take a deep breath and read on. By learning how to properly activate your breathing muscles you can actually get a better bod, transform your posture and de-stress – all whilst you’re sitting at your desk
Considering most of us are stuck behind our desks for up to eight hours a day, it makes exercising pretty difficult. You can’t exactly drop to the floor and start doing a bunch of crunches in the middle of a board meeting, right?
However, you can actually flatten your abs, transform your posture and improve your mood whilst sitting at your computer according to biomechanics pioneer and Australia’s leading posture expert Dell-Maree Day – and it’s all to do with your breathing.
The Sydney based former Pilates teacher is the creator of a ground breaking online program called The Invisible Exercise (TIE) which, over a course of 10 weeks, shows you how to correctly activate all 639 muscles inside you by mastering 10 key postures that will realign your body.
“Strengthening your entire body can be done through posture training and the first outcome is stronger abdominals,” says Dell-Maree. “I first start by teaching people how to train their breathing muscles. When we are breathing well, our bodies use more than two hundred muscles and the most important of these muscles is your deepest ab.
“In my experience, it’s rare that these muscles are working correctly, even if you’re fit. That means for most people hundreds of their muscles are lying dormant.”
But Dell-Maree isn’t about to tell anyone to suck in their tummy muscles all day long. “My breathing technique triggers ‘muscle memory’ so muscles resume working naturally for you throughout the day.
“So, you can really condition your body and burn calories by turning those otherwise dormant muscles into active muscles just through improving your breathing technique at your desk. For the most part, your colleagues won’t even realise you’re doing anything!”
Here Dell-Maree shares her tips on how to sit up properly and breathe correctly, and why it can kick start a revolution in your own body.
The best sitting posture and breathing exercise
When you’re starting out, Dell-Maree advises to stop work every hour and do five or six breathing exercises. As your body strengthens and becomes more used to not slumping forward, or leaning back, aim to breathe this way more often.
“First move away from the back of your chair to sit on the front half of the chair. Place your feet flat on the floor directly under your knees. You should have a fist sized space between your feet and knees.
“Look straight ahead and sit as tall and relaxed as possible, especially your arms. Already your vertebrae will be stacking themselves up so the natural curves of your spine will already have improved.
“Staying tall and relaxed, let your body breathe in through the nose. As you breathe out through your lips think this thought: sternum through towards your spine.”
The 5 things sitting pretty will do for your body
1 You’ll take centimetres off your waist
As you think ‘sternum through towards your spine’ you’ll trigger the muscle memory of your most important breathing muscle – your deepest abdominal muscle and it will naturally flatten and narrow your abdominals. You will literally be losing centimetres off your waist without moving. Remember, you’re not trying to squeeze, lift or suck your own abdominal muscles in or up, you’re just letting things happen naturally.
2 Your posture will improve
The most common posture problem I see in clients is a hunch back. People sometimes try to overcome this by overcorrecting their sitting or standing which can lead to more soreness and other health issues. So, don’t overdo your breathing technique initially. Gradually up the ante and your spine will stack up better.
3 It’s a great stress reliever
When you’re furiously tapping away on your computer with deadlines to meet, the intense concentration can cause your shoulders to become really tense and your breathing to suffer. This can lead to your brain struggling to think clearly, leaving you more stressed. But as soon as you sit up tall and use your breathing technique, your muscles naturally fire and work as a team which breaks that negative spiral of stress, muscle shortening and tensing.
4 Any back and neck pain will reduce
Many people have awful back and neck pain as they’re doubled over a desk. Their poor posture means their bones are compressing which is the origin of nearly all aches and injuries – ouch! The breathing technique will ensure your muscles support your bones correctly easing any pain.
5 You won’t feel so tired at 3pm
Throughout your day your body goes through lots of ups and downs. You may have a burst of energy as you run for the bus and then spend hours slumped over your desk. You may go for a jog at lunchtime and want to sleep throughout your 3pm meeting. However, by practicing the breathing technique regularly throughout the day, your body will oxygenate more efficiently. This will improve your energy levels.
Visit www.theinvisibleexercise.com.au to learn more about their programs.