Did you know there are plenty of desk exercises you can do to get you up and moving throughout the day? If you have a desk job, chances are you are spending most of your time sitting, and this is not great for your health. In fact, between working, television, or social media, we all spend too much time sitting.
All That Sitting Is Making Us Fat. Desk Exercises Can Help!
The average person spends about 9.5 hours a day sitting down. Think about an average workday. You spend the commute to work sitting, whether it is in a car or on a train or bus. Office jobs consist mostly of sitting at your computer, on the phone, or sitting in meetings. Then there is the commute home, and many people get home tired and just want to sit on the couch for the rest of the night.
That adds up to quite a sedentary lifestyle. We need to incorporate some movement and exercise in there as well! We have an increased risk of obesity in our society because of our lifestyle. If we add just a little activity throughout the day, we can help lower that risk and probably even lose some weight. Desk exercises are a great way to get started.
We Are Also Sitting Wrong
Not only do we spend so much time sitting, but we also aren’t sitting in the right position for our spine most of the time. Especially when we sit at a computer all day. We end up slouching, craning our neck, and leaning our head forward. This causes strain and tension on the neck and back.
Another thing to look at is how we use our desk chairs. You want to make sure that it is at the correct height to have your feet flat on the floor and your hips at a 90-degree angle. Your lower back should be pressed against the back of the chair. This is to keep your back straight instead of slouching forward. The level of your computer screen can also cause strain if it is not at the right height.
Luckily, we can use desk exercises to help relieve the strain that we have been putting on ourselves. Counteract our sitting for too long and in the wrong position.
Do you often find yourself going home from work with a stiff neck or back? If so, it sounds like you need to incorporate some movement in your activities throughout the day.
Desk exercises are great for this. You can do them whenever you start to feel that tension building up in your neck or back. They can just be quick little breaks or done on your lunch break, and you don’t have to go anywhere.
There are many different ways to get that little bit of movement in. Stand up and doing some quick exercise in front of your desk. Sit in your chair and stretching, or countless other things you can do in your office.
Stretch At The Office With These Desk Exercises
These 10 stretches you can do at your desk will keep you flexible and feeling good. Like yoga … at your desk.
1. Rubber Neck
Sit up tall and drop your right ear down towards your right shoulder. Hold for a few seconds and repeat for the left side.
2. Reach for the Stars
Interlace your fingers and reach up towards the sky, as high as you can. Keep your palms facing up towards the ceiling.
3. Look Around
Turn your head to the left and try and look over your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat for the right side.
Drop your chin down towards your chest and GENTLY roll your head from side to side.
Raise both shoulders up towards your ears and hold for a few seconds then release. Repeat a few times for good measure.
6. Chest Opener
Bring your hands behind your back, press your palms together, sit up tall and hold for 5–10 seconds.
7. Seated Toy Soldier
Sit up tall and extend your right arm all the way up towards the ceiling. Straighten your left leg out and raise it up as you bring your right arm down and try to touch your left foot. Do 8–10 on each side.
8. Knee Hugger
With a bent knee, lift your right leg up and grab it with your arms. Pull it in as close to your chest as you can. Hold for 5–10 seconds. Do it on the left side, too.
9. Reach and Bend
Extend your right arm over your head and reach out as far as you can to the left. Gently bend over to the left side. Hold for a few seconds and do it the other way.
10. Knee Press
This one stretches out the glutes. With your right ankle on your left knee, gently press against the right knee a few times. Of course, after you’re done with the right side, be sure and give the left side some love, too.
Another Way To Get In More Exercise
Some examples of N.E.A.T.* ways you can help yourself are:
- Don’t park so close to work – give yourself plenty of time and park a slight distance away and take a brisk walk.
- Always opt for the stairs instead of the elevator – raise the heart rate and get the muscles moving
- Take coffee breaks, get it yourself and find a reason to walk to and from the photocopier.
- If your job involves you being on the phone a lot then take your calls standing up. While you’re there, do a few of your stretches.
- During your break or lunch make the effort to go for a walk. Even if it’s a couple of laps inside the building or a few trips up and down the stairs, it’ll make all the difference.
- If you commute to work then why not get off a stop or two before you need and walk the rest of the way.
- If your job involves a lot of air travel then do a few laps in the airport terminal while you’re waiting for your flight.
*N.E.A.T. stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), which basically includes everything except moderate and heavy exercising. Standing, walking, fidgeting—they all contribute to NEAT.
In a perfect world, you should get up from your desk at least once an hour. Set an alarm to remind you to stop squinting at your computer screen and get up and move. Walking for just two minutes an hour can reduce the negative effects of sitting. Are you still sitting? Get up, get moving!
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Functional Fitness Exercises For The Workplace