Fitting in time to get to the gym and finding a stress relief outlet can be almost impossible in this digital age with many of us sitting at desks all day long. So in order to improve your posture, productivity and fitness we’ve compiled a quick list of desk exercises to keep you fresh during the day.
Let’s be real, most of us have jobs where manual labor is a thing of the past. This being the case, it’s important to keep your body in prime condition so the onset of health issues related to sedentary jobs is slowed. By regularly exercising and doing desk exercises you can improve your cardiovascular health, boost your metabolism, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol and triglyceride (a form of dietary fat used for energy or storing fat) levels.
The benefits are obvious, but how often should you exercise at your desk? Many articles and studies suggest getting up and moving for a few minutes every hour is helpful.
So here are our top 5 desk exercises you can start using right now:
1. Stretching – Okay so it’s not really an exercise, but stretching is great for making you feel relaxed, and it gets the blood flowing too. A good arm stretch is to intertwine your fingers and stretch up towards the ceiling with your palms facing upwards. You can do the same and stretch behind your back with your palms pressed together. An easy stretch for your neck is to simply sit up straight and then bring your left ear to your left shoulder for a few seconds. Repeat on the other side.
2. Cardio – Take the stairs, get up and go for a walk. Run on the spot for 40 seconds and repeat 4-5 times. There’s nothing more to this exercise than getting your legs moving for a few minutes. How much you do is up to you and depends on your environment. Getting in a little cardio keeps you awake too.
3. Upper body – Keep your chest, arms and shoulders strong by placing both hands on your chair’s armrests and lifting yourself off the chair. Then slowly lower yourself back down to the chair, stopping short and holding the position for a few seconds. Do this 10-20 times a few times a day and feel the difference.
4. Lower body – Get up, adjust your feet and squat. Repeat 10-20 times. If you work in a quiet office and don’t want to be watched, do leg lifts from your chair. Straighten one or both legs out and hold in place for 5 seconds. Lower your feet to the ground but stop short, repeat for 15 reps. You can loop your handbag, laptop bag or gym bag around your legs to add weight.
5. Full body – The easiest full body exercise you can do at work is jumping jacks (or star jumps) or pretend jump rope. Or if you want an easier workout, why not keep a yoga mat under your desk for lunch breaks. If the weather is good, go out to the park and spend 15-20 minutes doing simple yoga poses.
In addition to your daily workouts, you should start incorporating these simple desk exercises into your daily work routine. Setting up your work station ergonomically and having an ergonomic office chair will also improve your overall comfort at work. Now get up and get moving!