3 Personal Trainer Characteristics That Signal It’s Time for a Change

In the United States, personal trainers make, on average, about $70,000 per year. Clients typically pay $40 to $70 per hour for an in-gym training session; rates can increase to $100 or more per hour for in-home sessions. With some clients seeing a trainer for three to four hours per week, the monthly expense can run between $480 to over $1,600 per month.

Clients willing to spend money on a trainer must research and compile expectations. You are paying for a service, and you deserve quality and respect. An excellent trainer will have certifications, compassion, and a passion for their field. Unfortunately, all trainers are not equal, and several warning signs signal it's time to switch instructors.

1. They Are Too Demanding or Controlling

The style of training that motivates you is likely different from your friends or family members. Some people prefer the tough love approach to the hand-holding style.

Regardless of the training style you prefer, no trainer should demand more than you are capable of or control every aspect of your life. Unfortunately, some trainers expect too much of their clients, risking injuries or burnout. Others expect clients to count every macro or micronutrient and track every physical movement they make.

Physical fitness is vital to healthy living, but you should find some joy in the activity. If your trainer is too controlling or demanding, find someone else.

2. They Do Not Incentivize or Motivate

Motivation is one of the main reasons people seek and pay for a personal trainer. Many excellent personal trainers attempt to incentivize clients, either through tangible rewards or recognition through client competitions. Other trainers merely motivate the individual with praise and personal acknowledgment.

If you are working with a trainer who offers little or no encouragement, reconsider your relationship. Offering inspiration helps propel people forward. Clients can push themselves past their reservations to meet fitness goals through motivation and support. The relationship between a client and trainer is a productive and positive one; if yours isn't, find a new trainer.

3. They Do Not Customize Your Training

Training is not a one-size-fits-all approach to physical fitness. Every client is different. Some people have disabilities or restricted movement; others are more or less advanced. A skilled and qualified trainer understands the differences in clients and creates a unique plan to suit individual needs.

Trainers who attempt to use the same regimen with every client are potentially lazy and unscrupulous. In their haste to build their reputation and client base, they forget the importance of customization.

A custom fitness program is paramount to individual safety and success. Attempting to use one plan for multiple clients is often ineffective and potentially hazardous for some.

If you want a one-size-fits-all approach, join a fitness class. If you want a custom training plan, hire a capable trainer.

People pay good money on personal trainers in the U.S. You deserve to get the service you pay for. While some dishonest characters are out there trying to make a quick buck as supposed fitness experts, do yourself a favor and check their qualifications. Also, if a trainer is unwilling to customize a plan and shows no interest in supporting or motivating you, find yourself a new instructor.

Should You Chew Caffeinated Gum? Pros, Cons and Weird Effects

A cup of coffee (or three) in the morning is more than a pleasant ritual: It’s an important way to wake up, get the blood flowing and stay focused at work. Of course, coffee isn’t everyone’s — pardon the pun — cup of tea. Now, some people are switching to trendy caffeinated gum for their morning jolt of energy. What is this new pick-me-up, and how safe is it?

Caffeinated Gum Bootcamp

Caffeine gum looks and tastes like other gum, but it has a serious amount of caffeine as the star ingredient. Caffeine content varies by brand, ranging from 10 mg to 100 mg per piece. In comparison, a small cup of brewed coffee has 100 mg on average.

Athletes, Fighters and … Working Moms?

The U.S. military has used caffeine gum during special forces operations for a long time. When soldiers need a performance boost or have to stay alert for long periods, they pop a piece of the supercharged gum.

Now,  everyday people are getting in on the action. When working parents have to leave early for work, instead of a drive-thru, a piece of caffeinated gum provides the shot of adrenaline they need. When they hit an afternoon energy slump, it’s time for — you guessed it — more gum.

A Bite-Sized Energy Boost

How effective is caffeine gum? That depends on the amount of caffeine in each brand. A shot of 100 mg of caffeine can undoubtedly make a difference:

  • Alertness: The caffeine rush wakes you up big time, getting rid of grogginess and brain fog, and kicking your brain into high gear.
  • Mental performance: Caffeine can improve mental focus, learning, memory and reaction times.
  • Energy levels and mood: Caffeinated gum can energize your muscles and mind, chasing away tiredness and holding back fatigue. Caffeine also stimulates feelings of wellness and encourages a positive mood.
  • Muscle performance: Caffeinated gum offers significant improvements in muscle performance and endurance (about 5%). In other words, it really can help athletes run faster, swim further and play harder.
  • Fast caffeine absorption: A big advantage of caffeine gum versus coffee is that chewing gets the caffeine into your bloodstream more quickly. You get an energy boost right away. Plus, a small pack of gum is pretty convenient on the go.

The Darker Side of Caffeinated Gum

Coffee, energy drinks and other caffeine sources always have a few risks to keep in mind. You mainly need to limit your total caffeine intake. Too much caffeine can trigger negative effects:

  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Racing heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches

Swapping coffee for gum also means you’re getting less water. To stay hydrated, you would need to increase your liquid intake.

How Much Caffeine?

Doctors generally say that 400 mg of caffeine a day is safe. Caffeinated gum can make things tricky because it’s so easy to pop too many pieces. Even the Department of Defense tells soldiers to use caution with the stuff:

  • Chew only one piece of gum at a time
  • Wait 15 minutes before chewing another
  • Don’t have more than two pieces in three hours
  • Don’t go beyond four to eight pieces a day

Another option is to choose great energy-boosting alternatives such as green tea or matcha powder juices and smoothies. They provide the benefits of caffeine but also deliver filling protein and fiber, protect your cells with antioxidants, and keep you hydrated.

5 Stretches To Release Tight Hips

Often due to sitting at a desk for hours every day, hip pain is a common issue among adults. Stretching can provide some relief by opening up the hips, encouraging flexibility, and helping with mobility. Stretching helps extend tight muscles and, over time, improves their reflexiveness of them. Stretching can also reduce joint pain.

The hip flexors should be the focus of any hip-opening routine. By performing appropriate hip flexor stretches, you can significantly improve your day-to-day. Several stretches can help restore mobility to the hips and open you up.

1. Leg Lifts

While technically an exercise, leg lifts do stretch the hips. You want to start this exercise on all fours. Extend one of your legs straight back, so half of your body resembles a pushup pose. Squeeze the glute and hamstring of the extended leg and lift it toward the ceiling. Hold the leg in the air for a few seconds before slowly lowering it back to the ground. You can repeat this on each side, counting to a specific number of reps. You will also want to keep your back straight and your abs tight during the exercise.

2. Bridge Pose

The bridge pose is essentially a horizontal pelvic thrust, which is excellent for opening your hips. You will start this stretch lying on your back with your soles on the floor and your knees bent. You want your arms stretched at your sides. Lift your glutes from the floor until your knees, hips, and shoulders are aligned. Hold the position for 10 seconds before slowly returning to the start position.

3. Butterfly Stretch

The butterfly stretch opens the hip flexors, inner thighs, and back, encompassing the entire hip region. You start in a seated position. You to sit with the soles of your feet together. Tighten your abs and keep your spine tall. Using your hands, grab each foot, placing your elbows at your inner thighs. Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, lower your torso, keeping your spine long. Hold for 30 seconds when you feel it.

4. Yogi Squat

The yogi squat opens the inner thighs and hips. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and angled outward. Crouch into a squatted position with your tailbone between your ankles. Your hands should be in a prayer position at the chest. Your elbows should be pressed against the inner thighs. As you hold your hands firmly and press your elbows against your thighs, count to 30.

5. Happy Baby Pose

The happy baby pose is an excellent stretch for the hips, spine, and legs. Start by laying on your back. Bend your legs and bring your up. You can use your index and middle fingers to grab your big toes. Pull the toes down, bring the knees closer to the shoulders, and press the elbows into the knees. Hold the position for 30 seconds.

Tight hips are a common and uncomfortable problem, likely a side effect of desk jobs and similar activities. Thankfully, stretching is a good way to relieve some of the joint pain and improve flexibility and mobility. The above exercises are an excellent place to start, but there are more hip flexor exercises to explore.

Exercises and Stretches To Relieve Wrist Strain and Improve Mobility

Your hands and wrist are vital to many essential tasks, such as driving, cooking, eating, and working. For many people, their work requires eight-hour shifts at a desk with their hands continuously pounding away at a keyboard.

The nonstop or relentless typing does strain your wrists and fingers. If you work on a laptop, the strain can worsen because laptop keyboards are smaller and force your wrists and hands into awkward angles.

While there is no quick solution for limiting wrist strain, you have stretch and exercise options to strengthen muscles and improve mobility. Searching online will provide numerous wrist and hand exercises resources, but they all come down to the same five basic movements.

1. Praying Hands

The praying hands exercise or stretch is one of the easiest ways to improve wrist flexibility. You want to stand with your hands touching, palms together. Your elbows Should also touch each other. Your hands should be parallel to your face.

As you press your hands together, slowly separate your elbows. Your palms should remain touching as they move down toward your belly button. Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. Repeat.

You can add another element to the stretch. Extend one arm out from the body at shoulder height, palm down. Allow your hand to go limp. With your other hand, grab the fingers of the limp hand and pull them back. Hold the position for another 30 seconds. Repeat with the other hand.

2. Rising Fists

You can also choose a seated stretch. Lay your forearms and hands on your thighs with palms facing up. Stretch your fingers wide before slowly closing them into a fist. You do not have to clench your fist, only close it. Keep your forearms on your legs, and raise your fists towards your body, bending from the wrists. Hold the position for 10 seconds before lowering your fist back to your legs and opening your hands wide. Repeat the stretch a minimum of 10 times. 

3. Squeezing Tennis Balls

Using a tennis ball or stress ball can help you build hand and wrist strength. However, it does require commitment. You want to squeeze the ball as hard as you can for five to 10 seconds. It would be best if you repeated the hold 10 or more times.

The exercise should not hurt. Stop and talk to your doctor if you feel any pain while performing the squeeze. You could have a wrist injury that needs assessment.

4. Performing Figure-Eights

Yoga is usually seen as a full-body exercise routine, but it also has several movements that focus on specific areas of the body. Figure-eights focus on hand and wrist mobility.

To perform the exercise, you need to interlace your hands and position them in front of the body. Keep your elbows at your sides and move your hands in a figure-eight position — your hands should alternate the top position. Perform the exercise in intervals of 15 seconds.

5. Trying the Desk Press

A desk press is another exercise to help build wrist strength. The movement focuses on the muscles running from your wrists to your elbows.

In a seated position, place your hands under the desktop. Your palms should be face up against the underside of the desk. Press against the bottom of the desk for 10 seconds. Repeat.

Working at a computer all day can result in hand and wrist injuries. If you choose to fit some of the above exercises and stretches into your day, you can reduce the risks of injury.

4 Everyday Chores That Work Your Core

Whether you’re a parent and primary caretaker of your home, a busy professional or a carefree singleton in the prime of his or her life, you may struggle to find time for a legitimate workout, much less develop an exercise routine. If this is the case, fret not, as you can still work that core and achieve a physique of which you can be proud. How? You may wonder. Simply by doing what you do — maintaining your home and the other things you own.

The household chores you do every day — and even those you do infrequently, such as painting or dusting the fans — works your core just as effectively as an abs day at the gym. So, which chores are more effective than others? The answers may surprise you.

Vacuuming

Vacuuming doesn’t just bust the dust — it also busts the gut. In all seriousness though, pushing a vacuum around works the triceps and extends the lateral muscles, especially if you use an older model. The chore is extra effective if you go all out and move around furniture while you’re at it.

You can make the most of this daily or weekly chore by treating vacuuming as you would any other workout and using proper “gym technique.” Squat when plugging in and unplugging the appliance, push with your legs when moving furniture and hold your abs tight as you sweep away.

Raking Leaves

If you’ve ever raked leaves or mowed grass before, you know just how effective of a “workout” this chore is. Like vacuuming, raking works the arms and abdominal muscles. It also works the legs, back and buttock muscles as well. Raking, all around, is a great workout.

You can get extra points by bagging the leaves and hauling the load to the curb. However, be smart in your technique and seek help from a spouse, neighbor, child or friend. Claiming to have thrown out your back hauling leaves is slightly more embarrassing than saying you threw it out on leg day.

Painting

Painting just doesn’t just work your core; it works your whole body. Painting requires you to squat, stretch, press and rotate parts of your body in ways you don’t rotate them in everyday life. It’s because of its impressive benefits that Mr. Miyagi used fence painting as a form of discipline for Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid. If a paint project ever presents itself, no matter how small, volunteer yourself to lend a helping hand.

Power Washing

Like leaf raking, if you’ve ever power washed anything, you know just how effective it is as a workout. Power washing forces you to control a hose that has a steady 2,400 PSI of water pulsing through it. Moreover, it requires overhead lifting, rotational movement and squatting, all of which work not just your abs but also, your whole body.

To make the most of your power washing endeavors, plan to spend a whole day doing it. This is not necessary to reap the most benefits but to ensure you don’t strain any muscles in the process (that’s how effective power washing is).

You don’t need a gym membership or even hours of free time to work your core. All you need is the motivation to do what you already do, and that is to maintain your home and property.

5 Benefits of Trampoline Cardio

When was the last time you jumped on a trampoline? Many adults have fond memories of playing around on large backyard trampolines, but as they get older, they seem to think there is no more room for a trampoline in their lives. Thankfully, there is always room to jump for joy. 

Trampolines provide an excellent cardiovascular workout that is both healthy and fun. If you would like to revisit that childhood joy again, pick up a mini trampoline and take advantage of the many benefits of trampoline cardio. 

1. Improved Bone Density

As people age, their bone density is not what it once was, making their bodies more fragile and injury-prone. Research proves that the bone density of competitive trampolinists is higher than others in their peer group.  

While you might not become a competitive trampolinist, performing regular trampoline exercises can still improve your bone density in the spine and hip regions. Studies suggest that routine trampolining can also reduce the odds of developing osteoporosis. 

2. Increased Strength

People often assume that a trampoline only uses the leg muscles because they associate jumping with the legs. However, a trampoline involves much more than just the lower half of the body.

A trampoline forces you to use the entire momentum of your body, which engages several muscle groups. When jumping on a trampoline, you use your legs, core, back, and more to maintain control and balance, allowing you to work out several areas at once.

3. Improved Core Strength

Trampolining is an exercise of rebounding or regaining balance and maintaining momentum. Several studies indicate that trampoline exercises relate to improved coordination, balance, and motor skills.

Additionally, as a trampoline is good for balance, the exercise focuses on the core muscles. By developing the core, people can better maintain their balance, which is beneficial to those who are more prone to falls, such as seniors.

4. Increased Heart Health

The heart is one of the most important muscles in the body, and cardio exercise is one of the only ways to work out this vital muscle. The trampoline provides an excellent low-impact solution to cardio exercise, especially for those who can no longer run.

If you choose to use the trampoline, you can improve your heart health. A trampoline workout can help lower your resting heart rate, triglyceride levels, and cholesterol levels.

5. Reduced Stress

One of the most essential aspects of sustained health is a stress-free life. Unfortunately, as most adults know, stress is a natural symptom of existence. Therefore, it becomes necessary to find ways to relieve stress.

Exercise is one of the most effective stress relief methods, so too is meditation and relaxation. However, did you know that jumping can also produce endorphins, helping to relax the body and increase joy?

Jumping on a trampoline is the literal interpretation of jumping for joy. The rebounding action of trampoline exercises results in the constant tensing and relaxing of muscles, releasing endorphins, and stretching the muscles. When the exercise is complete, your muscles are loose, and you feel relaxed.

The trampoline is one of the best cardio workouts, and it is fun. If you have not jumped for joy in a while, consider picking up a mini trampoline and getting started with some fundamental routines.

The Tremendous Benefits of Cycling

When most people get their license and a brand-new used car, their bicycles wind up in the garage collecting dust. As adults, bike riding is a childhood pastime; it serves a minimal purpose in the hustle and bustle of grown folks' business.  

The simplistic attitude is somewhat fair when thinking of a bicycle as an effective mode of transportation, especially for the multitude of adult obligations. However, a bike is still fun, potentially relaxing, and a beneficial exercise machine.

1. Cardiovascular Health

Cycling, above all else, is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Whether you use a stationary indoor bike or a standard bicycle, cycling can improve your system's circulation and oxygen distribution, and it can increase your aerobic tolerance or capacity. 

Depending on the form of cycling you do, the activity can also improve insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. Stationary cycling classes that incorporate high-intensity interval training seem to benefit these areas most.

2. Low-Impact

Most people acknowledge the advantages of running for cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, running is hard on the knees, hips, and ankles. The amount of force on the joints, ligaments, and tendons can lead to long-term and compounding damage in runners.  

Cycling reduces the shock on the system. Riding a bike is considered a low-impact form of exercise, meaning your body can still receive cardiovascular benefits without risking potential injuries or degradation of the joints. 

3. Coordination

Regardless of the style of cycling you gravitate towards, the activity requires significant coordination. However, beginners should not let the need for coordination stop them from enjoying riding. 

The repetition of cycling will establish greater coordination over time. The more you ride over busy bike trails or participate in rhythm-based cycling classes, the more your abilities will start to rise to the challenge.

4. Stamina

When you start cycling, you might only get around the block or last a portion of a class. Do not let assumed failure deter you. Many people set expectations beyond their current abilities, which is why setting smaller goals, to begin with, is best.  

Set a goal for a single trip around the neighborhood or a shorter distance. The goal you set should be manageable and somewhat easy until you learn your limits. The beauty of riding a bike is the activity is compounding. You will build endurance and stamina the longer you train. 

5. Posture

Many people do not consider posture when cycling. Then hop on the bike, grab the handlebars, and start pedaling. Unfortunately, the lackluster approach to riding can result in back pain. 

Posture is a crucial aspect of cycling and riding comfortably. When you mount your bicycle, you want a neutral spine, meaning it is straight and relaxed, not arched and strained. Your shoulders should be down and back, not curved in a "whatever" position. Practicing an accurate riding position can improve your posture even off the bike.

6. Strength Training

Believe it or not, riding a bicycle is a form of strength training, primarily for the lower body and core muscles. Cycling requires balancing muscles, making it an excellent exercise for older individuals. 

You can increase your workout by using the various gear settings or choosing more challenging terrain. An uphill ride will really challenge your leg and core muscles. 

A bicycle might spark images of favorite childhood memories, but cycling is not a pastime; it is a current and effective form of exercise. If you haven't ridden in a while, maybe it's time to dust off the saddle.

Can Walking Be as Effective as Running?

Walking or running, which is the better exercise? People constantly debate the best form of cardiovascular exercise. When performing a search online, you will likely find communities that back each method of training, which they can and should. Each activity is beneficial in its own right, meaning there is no shame in using both in your workouts. Variety is often more preferential than any one exercise to maintaining health and building muscle.

The problem comes when people argue over the effectiveness of either running or walking. When compared apples to apples — flat running versus flat walking — running wins with the calorie burn. However, running is more taxing on your knees, ankles, etc., which is why many people, especially those dealing with arthritis or injuries, prefer walking to running.

Truthfully, there is no reason you cannot experience an equivalent calorie burn while walking. You either need to walk for longer periods or start an incline regimen. Walking at a continuous incline burns more calories than flat walking, and it can burn a similar number of calories compared to flat running.

The Advantages of Incline Walking

While running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise, it is an aggressive and potentially abusive activity. Your knees and other joints sustain multiple and repetitive impacts that can worsen existing injuries or lead to damage later in life. 

Fitness experts have known that walking is less damaging than running for a long time. The impacts the body contends with during walking are less vigorous, softer. The big drawback to walking compared to running is the calorie deficit. Flat running and flat walking are not equivalent when it comes to calorie burn, and walkers will need to double or even triple their time exercising to receive the same benefits s runners. However, walking at an incline changes everything.

Incline walking engages stabilizer muscles and requires more energy than walking on a flat surface. The muscle engagement and energy burn are equivalent to flat running, if not better, in some ways.

By engaging the back, hips, and core, incline walking helps develop muscles key to balance. As people age, balance tends to weaken, becoming a significant threat to safety. With more developed stabilizer muscles, aging individuals can reduce the risks of falling and the injuries that stem from it.

Aside from building critical muscles, incline walking is still walking, so the typical advantages of walking over running remain, primarily reduced impact injuries. Walking does not require the same footpad collision with the concrete, meaning the body does not need to absorb as much force, even when incline walking.

Both Exercises Are Beneficial

No one is saying that you should never run. Running is an effective form of exercise. Still, it is not safe for everyone. 

People at a greater risk of injury should avoid running. Walking is preferential for those with arthritis and other musculoskeletal injuries. While flat walking will not provide the same calorie loss as running, incline walking does and in the same amount of time.

When choosing or planning your exercise routine, you should consult with your primary care physician to determine what activities are safe and most beneficial. Even if you cannot run, incline walking can provide a safer and equivalent form of exercise, especially from a calorie-burn perspective.

Do you have any experience with incline walking, or are you willing to give it a try? Leave a comment below.

8 Reasons To Love Kettlebells

Typically, when people want to focus on fitness, they invest in large machines and equipment. The expense for a full gym setup can reach into the thousands, but there are effective full-body alternatives, including kettlebells.

Kettlebells are one of the most effective pieces of home gym equipment currently on the market. The odd-shaped balls with large angular handles are popular among trainers and enthusiasts because of the ease of design and integration into workout routines.

If you are looking to create your home gym, you should start with a variety of kettlebells. These unique tools provide several benefits for the average to experienced fitness level.

1. Grip

Have you ever wanted to improve your grip strength but struggled to find an effective tool or piece of equipment. The kettlebell not only requires grip strength but also helps build strength in the hands.

Using the equipment as a preventative for specific genetic conditions, such as arthritis, can help prolong use and movement. The best part is, the kettlebells come in various weights to suit all skill and strength levels.

2. Cardio

A kettlebell workout is about continuous movement. Because you maintain motion, these workouts are excellent alternatives to cardio workouts requiring running, meaning you can get your cardio in while avoiding unnecessary impacts.

3. Space

Many homeowners want to create a private gym in their house but lack the space for large equipment. Even free weights can take up a significant amount of room. Kettlebells do not, thankfully. You can have a complete set of kettlebells without taking up more than a corner of your basement, garage, or bedroom.

Additionally, if you want to avoid having unsightly gym equipment taking up permanent residence in your bedroom or another area, consider the size of kettlebells. The equipment is small and can easily be stored in a closet or under a bed.

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4. Portability

The small size of kettlebells means they are incredibly portable. You can exercise anywhere in your home, and if the urge strikes, you can pack the kettlebells in your car and head to your favorite outdoor location.

5. Time

Because kettlebells provide a full-body workout, the routine is typically quicker than using traditional equipment. You can find many training series to coach you through the workout routines. Additionally, you can look on YouTube for tutorials if you want to save some money.

6. Coordination

There are many kettlebell exercises that require hand-eye coordination. Additionally, depending on the routine and stance, workouts can require full-body coordination. Again, this places kettlebells above other equipment.

7. Balance

Beyond coordination, kettlebells require balance. The entire process is an excellent option for people wanting to improve their flexibility, balance, and mobility. However, before you opt for kettlebells, consider talking to your doctor to discuss your plans.

8. Conditioning

Kettlebells are excellent tools for full-body conditioning. From cardio to weightlifting, you will build muscle and stamina throughout your body.

When looking to create a workout space at home, wait to purchase large machines and weight sets. Kettlebells provide many of the same benefits while saving you money and space.

Would you ever use kettlebells? Comment below.

The 3 Best Yoga Moves To Stretch and Relax a Desk Chair Body

Many people work desk jobs, which typically equates to a sedentary lifestyle despite being super productive during your eight to 10-hour shift. Beyond being compared to smoking or cancer, sitting all day can lead to sore hips and a knotted back.

While there isn’t much to be done at work, aside from purchasing a better chair or a standing desk, you can improve your health and wellness outside of the office. Yoga is one activity that is surprisingly helpful when it comes to relieving sore muscles and stiff joints. The focus on breathing, stretching, and slow and controlled movements are the key to relaxing your body and finding relief. While all yoga is beneficial, several moves can help ease a rigid desk chair body.

1. Standing Forward Fold

The forward fold can help relieve compressed muscles by slowly stretching them. It is a simple move but quite effective when performed correctly. You want to stand with your feet slightly apart, about hips-width. With your hands on your hips, inhale deeply and stretch your arms straight out above you. As you exhale, you want to bend at the hips, folding forward and engaging your abs. Tuck your chin to your chest and relax your shoulders as you extend the top of your head toward the floor, stretching your spine. You want to keep your legs as straight as possible and shift your weight forward. You can either let your hands hang down toward the floor or grab the opposite elbow. Hold the pose for 30 seconds before slowly returning to an upright position.

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2. Downward Facing Dog

The downward-facing dog pose focuses on strengthening all those areas that are stiff or sore from sitting all day: shoulders, back, hamstrings, and calves. To perform the pose, start on your hands and knees, your hands should rest on the floor beneath the shoulders, and your knees aligned with your hips. Inhaling, tuck your toes under your heels, and exhaling, lift your hips into an upside-down V shape. Spreading your fingers wide, create a line from your elbow to your middle finger on each side. Relax your head. Hold for 30 seconds.

Try to improve your posture every time you perform this pose. Work on lowering your heels to the ground and straightening your legs for the best possible stretch.

3. Cat-Cow Pose

The shoulders, chest, and spine tend to be the most affected by sitting all day. The Cat-Cow pose is a way to open up these areas while mobilizing the spine. Start in the same position as the downward dog pose, on your hands and knees, each aligned under the shoulders and the hips, respectively. Inhale deeply, and on the exhale, you want to pull your belly button up toward the spine, curving your back toward the ceiling. Allowing your neck to relax, bring your chin toward your chest. You are now in the cat position.

As you inhale, let your belly drop toward the floor and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone toward the ceiling without straining your neck. You are now in the cow position.

Cycle through each position 10 times, controlling your breathing and focusing on posture. Remember to limit tension on the neck. These poses are intended to focus on the back, shoulders, and chest.

While yoga has many benefits overall, these three positions offer significant benefits to those who sit at a desk all day. What are some poses you would suggest? Leave a comment.