Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to get healthier in 2013? One month in, have you found your motivation already waning? If so, you’re not alone – It’s a common trend: Too often, people use the start of a new year as a chance to set unrealistic goals or expectations for themselves – and then give up altogether as soon as they begin to fall behind. In fact, approximately 80% of new gym memberships purchased in the new year will go unused by spring – and a date months before that, January 30th, is commonly referred to as “Resolution Hump Day” for the drastic drop in gym membership it routinely predicts.

But here’s another important statistic for you: Eight in 10 Americans will reportedly experience some sort of back pain in their lifetime – back pain that could have, in many cases, been prevented by proper exercise and care. If you are one of the countless Americans who spend most of their days working a traditional desk job, however, you may find it difficult to find time for this exercise – and over time, the aforementioned back pain accumulates; it’s a vicious cycle.

Celebrity fitness trainer Ashley Borden has recently partnered with BackJoy® to help break this cycle by creating a series of simple stretches that can be done while in the office. Along with working to prevent and treat back pain, these stretches may also help you sit more comfortably – and may even lead to higher levels of energy and productivity!

Here they are:

Lower Ab Connect
lowerabconnect1. Set your chair at the perfect height for optimal posture position – feet firmly planted on the floor, heels in line with knees and knees just below your hip bones.
2. Sit upright, eyes on the horizon, hands interlaced on your ribcage – BackJoy® Posture+ is an easy-to-use and comfortable seat enhancement to achieve proper posture with less effort.
3. Connect to your lower core by rotating your pelvis in a circular motion 3 times to the right, then 3 times to the left.
4. Don’t let your core go during any of the rotations! You will feel a deep lower ab pull if done right.

Push and Pull
lowerabconnectpostureplus1. Sit upright, on your BackJoy® Posture+ or with proper posture, and tense your core.
2. Bring your hands to your shoulders with your palms facing forward as if you’re holding pretend dumbbells.
3. Press your fists up to the ceiling with strong, fully extended arms all while keeping your core braced and connected.
4. Pull wide, open hands towards the ground on either side of your waist. Visualize your elbows doing the pulling down, and pinch between the lower shoulder blades at the bottom of the move.
5. Repeat 10x.

Cat and Dog
catdog1. Kneel on the floor on all fours with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, your knees under your hipbones, and a straight spine.
2. Inhale and tuck your chin to your throat, rounding your back by hollowing out your stomach and pushing your hands away from the floor.
3. Exhale, rotating your tailbone and heart up towards the ceiling.
4. Repeat 5x.

 

Seated Shoulder Stretch
seatedshoulderstretch
1. Sit on the floor with your knees slightly bent and your feet a couple of feet out in front on the floor, and tighten your core.
2. Place your forearms on the ground behind you, with fingertips facing your body.
3. Lift your chest to the ceiling, pushing your shoulders away from your ears.
4. Hold for 2 seconds, then bring to a starting position and repeat.
5. Repeat 5x.

 

Kneeling Quad Stretch
kneelingquadstretch
1. Start in a lunge position – Your front foot should be flat on the floor and your back foot should be flexed, with your first and second toe pushing into the floor.
2. Place your hands on your front leg and actively lift your chest to the ceiling.
3. Squeeze the back of your leg and glute as hard as you can until you feel the stretch in your quad.
4. Hold for 20 seconds on each leg.
5. Repeat 5x.

 

You can watch Ashley’s “Sit Right – Stretch Right” video in its entirety online right here.

By Liana Orenstein