If you began working remotely before or during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have noticed that much of your movement during work hours consists of walking to the kitchen and back. Just as with an in-person desk job, it’s important to find creative ways to burn calories, maintain good posture, and stay healthy. T’ai chi ch’üan, often called simply Tai Chi, is an ancient Chinese exercise that offers many health benefits, including excellent stretches for people who sit all day. The best part? You can do it in the privacy of your own home.
Long periods of sitting are generally unhealthy for both body and mind, and can cause neck, shoulder, back, and hip strain and pain as well as weight gain and inflexibility. Here are some options that can help you stretch, strengthen, and realign your body throughout your work day.
It sounds obvious: if you sit all day for work, it’s important to take breaks in which you get up and move your body. Doing so can improve strength, balance, and even wakefulness. Choose some full-body Tai Chi exercises that you can do in the length of time you have for a break. You can find a free class on ideal movements here. You can also practice Tai Chi while walking.
Many people use standing desks to burn a few extra calories and avoid sitting-related pain. However, it’s still easy to slouch or lean while standing for work, so it won’t help unless you do it mindfully. Periodically taking a moment to do Tai Chi standing meditations can significantly improve your posture and balance.
Believe it or not, Tai Chi also offers exercises you can do while sitting. These work well for people with mobility problems, the elderly, and even those who simply want to practice healthier ways to sit. Some of the best stretches for sitting all day can be found on page 9 (labeled as page 7) here.
The Tai Chi Foundation (TCF) is a not-for-profit educational organization that promotes, funds and teaches programs that enable people to learn Tai Chi Chuan and embody its principles. The School of Tai Chi Chuan (STCC), a subset of TCF, exists to continue the teaching of the Cheng Man-Ch’ing style of Tai Chi Chuan as passed from Cheng Man-Ch’ing to Patrick Watson.
The Tai Chi Foundation’s mission is to improve health, well-being, and awareness through the study, practice, and teaching of Tai Chi and Qigong by an increasing number of people worldwide.
There are over 200 TCF affiliated instructors teaching tai chi classes in 30 cities around the world. Find a class in your area, become a member, and support TCF in making the world a healthier and more mindful place today.