If you work full time in an office and can’t ride before or after work in the week, there are ways to exercise at your desk to help with your riding fitness. H&H finds out how

Working in an office not only restricts physical exercise, making it difficult to stay fit, it can also have a negative effect on your posture.

“Poor posture can have a massive impact on rider fitness,” says advanced level personal trainer Jacqueline Bosworth from Elite Health.

“Sitting at desks [working] on computers tends to pull our shoulders forward, weaken our upper back muscles and can also mean core muscles are switched off — [and] these are essential for a good riding seat.”

So, what can be done?

5 top tips for exercising at the office

1. Every time you make a cup of tea, do a set of 15 squats, and 20 lunges (alternate legs) to strengthen the legs and glutes for riding, as well as raising your heart rate.

2. Go for a run or brisk walk up the stairs or round the office floors, walk to work or park the car a short walk away from the office.

3. While sitting down, slouch for a second, then sit up using your transverse abdominals (deep core), as opposed to your back muscles, lift the shoulders up, back and then relax them down slightly. Now put a dot in your direct line of sight, and every 30min, reset yourself so you are still in line with the dot.

4. When sitting on a chair or Swiss ball, locate your seat bones and put your pelvis in neutral and then think of stacking your ribs on top, stretching up through your abdominals, lifting your chest and balancing your head on top of your shoulders. Ideally hold the core position while you work and repeat as many times as you can.

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5. ActiveRider has short 15min workouts that you can follow from your computer or smartphone, which still leaves plenty of time to grab a bite to eat and unwind during your break.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (20 November 2014)

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