Being an independent writer can mean a lot of hours behind a desk. It also means we can take on a lot of stress while we push for deadlines, learn marketing strategies, and plan our world domination. Exercise can be hard to stick to when we’re tied to our chairs.

Fortunately, there are a lot of options to do at our desk that don’t take a lot of time. (Generally speaking, don’t start any exercise routines without consulting your doctor or physiotherapist.) All exercises can be tailored to our own mobility needs: we don’t need to do burpees to make our bodies happier. Nor do we need to force our range of movement past what our bodies can handle—small movements have the same benefits as big ones.

Chair yoga is a great option for busy writers. Created for arthritis sufferers and those with limited mobility, it was popularized in the 1980s. It uses adapted poses of regular asanas and has many iterations that give gentle strength training and stretches to the masses. Add a handful of these to your sprint breaks and track the difference in how you feel over time.

Five Simple Stretches:

Prayer Hands 1: Put your hands together at chin level and slowly lower them to your mid-chest.

Prayer Hands 2: Put your hands together pointing downward starting at your waist level. Slow raise them to your mid-chest

Shoulder Circles: Roll each shoulder forward. Then repeat going backwards

Arm Raises: Stretch your arms out the sides like wings, and slowly raise them as high as you are able.

Leg Lifts: Sit as upright as possible and slowly extend your leg at the knee. Repeat for the other.

You can do these in repetitions of five, increasing as you desire. The first four stretches help unlock tight upper body muscles while the leg lifts help our legs and bottoms. Do these throughout the day to promote circulation to give us an extra hit of oxygen to our tired brains. 

For a guided chair workout, check out these short videos from some trusted sources: or 

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Sine Mairi MacDougall

Sìne Màiri is a Gàidhlig speaker from the Nova Scotian Gaidhealtachd. She's an author, international incident starter, and recovering educator. Having taught all over the world from the UK to Northern Canada to China, and back again, her specialties are language and literature, history, and youth services for alternative education. She unapologetically writes about the themes she’s encountered in her travels; resilience and found family being chief amongst those themes. Her current fiction projects include two urban fantasy series that she hopes to launch in the coming year.

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