If you have the kind of job where you’re sitting at your desk all day, you could be putting your health at risk. Research suggests that spending a large amount of time sitting can increase your risk of cancer by over 60%. Fortunately, spending most you’re your day at the office doesn’t mean you have to be sedentary all the time. You can deskercise.
So, let’s get physical. Here are some workouts you can do at (or near) your desk.
- Arm stretches: Reach as high as you can above your head, keeping your arms straight and your elbows locked. Stretch up to the ceiling as far as you can and hold for ten seconds. Then stretch your right arm higher, then your left arm.
- TMJ exercise: One of the most common complaints resulting from work stress is TMJ or jaw pain. If it persists, it can expand to your ears, temples, and neck. As soon as you begin to notice your jaws tightening, do these exercises to relieve the tension. Move your jaw from side to side five times. Open your mouth as wide as you can. Repeat these exercises several times throughout the day.
- Hip flexions: You can do this exercise while you are sitting at your desk. Simply raise your right foot six inches from the floor. Keep your knee bent at a 90-degree angle and hold the position for one minute. Repeat with the left foot. Do this exercise several times throughout the day.
- Neck and shoulder stretches: Sit with your back straight, facing forwards. Turn your head to the right, at the same time, turn your body to the left. Hold for ten seconds then repeat the other way. Repeat the move throughout the day to prevent stiffness.
- Back stretch: Pain in the lower back is a common complaint for people who spend much of the day sitting. To prevent this, sit up straight and shrug your shoulders until they are up near your ears. Hold for six seconds then release. Repeat five or six times.
- Plie squats: Stand by the side of your desk, spread your legs about two feet apart, and point your toes outward. Slowly bend your knees to a squatting position then straighten. Repeat ten times.
- Bicycle pedal: This is a good workout for your abs. Sit on the edge of your chair and hold onto the armrests. Raise your right knee to your chest then the left, alternating as though you are riding a bicycle. Pedal at a steady pace for five minutes.
- Shakedown: If you’re working on a computer for hours at a time, you’ll need to loosen up your wrists to prevent stiffness. All you need to do is shake your hands, as though you just washed them and you’re shaking them dry.
- Wrist stretches: Stretch both arms out in front of you at shoulder height with your palms facing upwards. Flex your wrist so that your right hand is pointing fingers-up. At the same time stretch your left hand so that its pointing fingers-down. Alternate and repeat ten times.
- Buttock crunches: While you are working clench your gluteus maximus as you sit so that you raise up about an inch. Repeat this ten times.
- Calf stretches: Stretch your legs out in front of you. Point your toes forward then pull them up towards your knees and hold for three seconds. Repeat ten times.
- Jumping jacks: Stand away from your desk with your feet apart, and your arms stretched out to the side. Jump and bring your feet together. Jump again and spread your feet apart. Repeat for five minutes. You could also pretend to be jumping a rope. This will get your heart rate up, so you can burn more calories.
- Shadow boxing: If you don’t have your own office, you can always do this in the bathroom or an empty conference room. Try shadow boxing, or box with an imaginary partner, for five minutes, to increase your heart rate and to relieve stress.
- Triceps dip: place your feet firmly on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Place your palms on the seat of your chair, fingers pointing forwards. Raise and lower yourself to the ground using your arms to control the movement.
- Flap your wings: Stretch both of your arms out in front of you with your palms together. Keeping your arms at shoulder height, stretch them back as far as you can then back in front of you. Repeat ten times.
- Football drill: While you’re sitting, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds. Then tap your feet rapidly on the floor for 30 seconds, repeat five times.
- Stairobics: Take to the stairs and rapidly run up and down two steps for five minutes.
- One-legged squats: Stand up and hold on to your desk for support. Raise one foot slightly from the floor and do a one-legged squat. Repeat with alternate legs ten times.
- Leg raises: A good exercise for lower abs is leg raises. Sit on your chair with your arms by your side, and your legs stretched out straight. Keeping your legs straight, raise them about a foot off the floor, hold for three seconds then lower them. Repeat ten times.
Remember, even if you work out at the gym every day, that still doesn’t make up for the fact that you’ve been sitting at your desk all day. Even small changes in your sedentary routine can make a big difference. For example, standing to take a phone call, holding standing meetings, walking instead of taking the lift, and taking a walk on your lunch break can improve your posture, circulation and help to reduce the risk of major diseases. But working out at work is not only good for your health, it also changes your attitude towards work and your colleagues. Exercise at work makes you feel more positive and it increases your productivity, by increasing your focus and level of concentration. It will also keep your stress levels low and make you feel happier overall.