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New! Elev8d Fitness by Sonima

4 Posture Exercises to Do While Sitting at Your Desk

You need to train your body to sit with proper posture. These four simple exercises take less than five minutes and will dramatically improve your alignment and comfort.

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“Between commuting, office jobs, and time in front of the TV, we love to sit,” says Brian Bradley, fitness director of Elev8d Fitness, the new 8-minute home workout program developed by the experts of Sonima.

You’ve probably already heard, but this sitting habit is really, really bad for you. According to a 2017 study in Annals of Internal Medicine, even if you exercise regularly, not moving for excessively long periods of time increases your risk for early death. It can also negatively affect your posture by conditioning your body to position itself in an unnatural way. Unfortunately, sitting is inevitable. But rather than resigning yourself to a sedentary slump, you can train for sitting in order to avoid some of its negative effects, Bradley says. In fact, there are certain movements you can practice while sitting in a chair to improve your posture and overall well-being.

How Does Sitting Affect Your Posture?

The way the body tilts and torques to sit in a chair is in opposition to natural, functional alignment. When you sit, your pelvis tilts back and your butt tucks under. This deactivates your hips so that they’re no longer supporting the top half your frame or engaging your glutes and core to support your spine. As a result, your spine shifts into one long C-curve instead of the natural S shape. When working at a desk, your shoulders round as your hands reach for your keyboard, and your head juts forward to get closer to the computer screen.

This “desk slump” affects more than just your ability to stand up straight—it may also contribute to your mid-afternoon energy slump. Korean researchers found the posture most of us take on while sitting and typing on our phones actually restricts our ability to breathe properly and efficiently. And lack of oxygen translates to less energy and lower concentration, Bradley points out.

If you think you’re exempt from this biomechanical malfunction, consider this: A 2015 Australian study found when people sat in a position that felt natural to them, they naturally slumped at the lumbar spine. When they were encouraged to correct their position just based on their own intuition, their lumbar angle was still overly curved. In other words: We need directions.


Related: An Active Alignment Sequence for Misaligned Shoulders


How Can Posture Exercises Help?

“The amazing thing is that we can correct our posture by just moving the body the way in was designed to naturally move,” says Bradley. “To put your body back in the most ideal alignment you need to use 100 percent of your deep, stabilizing muscles.”

That’s why the experts of Sonima developed Elev8d Fitness based on this straightforward principle. The at-home workouts incorporate a variety of dynamic movements that reset alignment. By adjusting and stabilizing key muscle groups, the exercises create foundational strength and symmetry in the body.

Although daily Elev8d Fitness workouts are the most comprehensive solution for improving posture, you can apply the following elemental movements while sitting at a desk or on the couch to dramatically enhance the quality of your sitting position. Do this routine in the order specified halfway through every sitting session (i.e., a day at the office, a two-hour train ride). Not only will you find yourself standing straighter after hours spent sitting, you’ll also experience improved blood flow and deeper breathing which boost oxygen flow for increased acuity and improved focus


Related: A Body-Balancing Exercise Routine for Drivers


Chair Arm Circles | 40x each direction



1. Put your thumbs up, and fold your fingers forward so that the tips are on the top pads of your palms.

2. Sit in a chair with your feet hip-width apart, flat on the ground, and pointed straight ahead.

3. Extend your arms directly sideways, straight out. Point your thumbs forward, palms down, and pinch your shoulder blades back.

4. Move your arms up and forward in a circular motion 40 times. Keep your shoulder blades pinched.

5. Next, flip your hands palms up, thumbs pointed backward, and move your arms up and backwards in circles 40 times.

Cats and Dogs in Chair | 5x each direction



1. Sit in a chair with your feet hip-width apart, flat on the ground and pointed straight ahead.

2. Beginning the movement at the hip, roll your back slowly upwards so that it finishes in a rounded position like a mad cat, your head down, chin resting on your chest. The lower half your back should be touching the chair back but not your shoulders.

3. Then, beginning the movement with the hip, lower your back into an inverse arch, your head and tailbone up, your shoulder blades pinching toward each other. Your low back and shoulders should be touching the chair back, but not your mid-back.

4. Repeat 5 times each direction.

Da Vinci’s in a Chair | 5x each direction



1. Sit in a chair with your feet hip-width apart, flat on the ground and pointed straight ahead.

2. Make sure to create a small arch in your lower back, reestablishing the natural S curve.

3. Extend your arms straight to the side, your hands palms-forward with the fingers spread wide.

4. Keeping your hips and head stable, bend to one side using just the spine and bend back to the other side.

Cats and Dogs in Chair | 10x each direction



1. Sit in a chair with your feet hip-width apart, flat on the ground and pointed straight ahead.

2. Beginning the movement at the hip, roll your back slowly upwards so that it finishes in a rounded position like a mad cat, your head down, chin resting on your chest. The lower half your back should be touching the chair back but not your shoulders.

3. Then, beginning the movement with the hip, lower your back into an inverse arch, your head and tailbone up, your shoulder blades pinching toward each other. Your low back and shoulders should be touching the chair back, but not your mid-back.

4. Repeat 10 times each direction.

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