Today’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle makes it very difficult to stay in shape. However, you could reduce stress, increase your endurance, and relieve stiffness by incorporating some of these safe tips and exercises into your daily work routine. You’ll look better and feel much better. Fitness experts agree that exercises are very important. Lack of it is associated with heart disease and other health problems.
Desk ExercisesStretching (flexibility) exercises help prevent joint and muscle stiffness and keep your body limber. If you do a series of stretches when you first arrive at work, they loosen you up and produce a sense of well–being and enthusiasm for the day’s events. When done at the end of a day, you will feel relaxed and less stressful.
Strengthening exercises make the muscles stronger. Weight–lifting comes to mind when thinking of strength, but you don’t have to lift hundreds of pounds to develop strong muscles. “Strength” in this context refers to the ability of a muscle to perform work, not to the size or bulk of a muscle. No time? No motivation? No equipment? Stretching and strengthening exercises on the chair, chosen with the sedentary worker in mind, is simple, takes only a few minutes and could be performed right at your desk.
Even though you work at your desk for seven hours each day, there are a few ways to keep your legs, arms and abdominal toned. First of all, you can set an alarm on your computer to remind you to stretch or do a quick exercise six or seven times each day. Every hour would be ideal. Make sure you are sitting on a high–quality chair. Remember to sit tall, maintaining a natural curve to your lower back. We also present some yoga–based exercises which you can do in the office during the course of the day to help prevent a few common injuries like carpal tunnel and repetitive stress injuries. The most important part of each exercise is to become aware of your body and your breath.
In a seated position, straighten your back then extend your neck muscles and move them in a big circular motion.
Back & stomach2. Back/Stomach
In a seated position, raise both your arms, then while lowering and raising your chin, bend your chest backwards.
In a seated position, lightly bend your elbows and very smoothly, rotate your shoulders.
In a seated position, loosen up your arms and hands, then shake, rotating from front to rear and side to side.
In a seated position, bend your back against the chair and expand your chest upwards, then straighten out your arms downwards. After that, continue the motion by bending your upper body forwards.
In a seated position, put your feet together lightly and pull your toes towards yourself, and then release.
While holding onto the desk with both hands, place your neck between your arms and while straightening out your back, shoulders, and waist, slowly, squeeze your body downwards. Then, continue the motion by straightening out your body and bending backwards.
While holding onto the desk with one hand, twist your arm and waist to one direction and straighten out coming back. You should then change directions while keeping your eyes on the hand in motion.
Use Desk Exercises to Alleviate Working Strain
Use these exercises at your desk to help alleviate the strain of working at the Computer.
- Sit up straight in your chair, or if possible stand up. Stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers, turn the palms to the ceiling. Take a deep breath in and during the exhale, extend your side torso and take the tips of the shoulder blades into the body. Take another deep breath and on the exhale stretch to the right, inhale, exhale and stretch to the left.
- Lift your shoulders up to your ears on an inhale and then exhale and let them drop. Repeat three times. Contract the shoulder (trapezius) muscles fully when you lift them up and then on the drop, it will release more completely.
- Stand (or sit at your desk) with your feet placed firmly on the ground. Inhale and raise your arms out to your side, palms down. Exhale and turn your palms upwards, rolling your shoulders back. Inhale and on the exhale, bend your elbows in towards your waist. Inhale and on the exhale bring your palms to your belly. This exercise helps open your chest and extends your upper back.
- Take your hands behind your back in a namaskar and interlock your fingers, stretching your shoulders back, and opening your chest. Take several breaths. Make sure your head stays parallel to the floor, and that your look is horizontal.
- Stand by the wall, extend your right arm and place your palm on the wall with the fingers up. On an exhale, turn your chest away, taking your shoulder blade into your torso.
- Stand by your desk and place your palms on the desk top with the fingers pointing towards your body. Gently, stretch your lower arm and wrist.
- Place your right hand on your left shoulder with your elbow at chest height and facing forward. Put your left hand on your right elbow and on the exhale, stretch it towards the left, opening between the shoulder blades. Hold your breath and release. Repeat on the other side.
- Stretch your right arm straight into the air and on the exhale bend your elbow and reach your fingers down your back, between your shoulder blades. Place your left hand on your elbow and on the exhale, gently pull your elbow to your left. Relax your ribs and hold for several breaths. Release and repeat on the other side.
- Hug your arms around your chest and then put one elbow underneath the other, with your hand facing towards each other and fingers to the ceiling. Exhale, and raise your arms slowly, so that your elbows come up to the height of your shoulder, keep the shoulders down. Repeat on the other side.
- Sit on your chair and pull back away from the desk, resting your palms on the desk top and extend your side torso. Lift your ribs up, let your shoulder blades slide towards the desk, make sure your head is extended from your spine with your chin towards your chest.
- Sit on your chair, feet placed firmly in the floor. Extend your side torso, and twist to the right (on the exhale), one hand on the back of your chair, and the other on its side. Hold for a few breaths and repeat the other side.
- Sit forward on your chair and spread your legs a little wider than your hips. Lean forward from your hips and drop your torso down. Let your head and arms hang down towards the floor.
- Sit upright in your chair with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Press your bottom down into the chair and extend your side torso. Relax your shoulders. Place your palms on your knees and spread your fingers wide. Take a deep breath in and on the exhale extend your tongue to your chin; and focus your eyes to your nose. Inhale and bring your tongue back into your mouth. Exhale and stick your tongue out again and this time focus your eyes up to your forehead. Repeat three times.
- Sit upright on your chair, relax your shoulders and extend your side torso up. Relax your facial muscles, your jaws and tongue. Circle your eyes clockwise eight times and anti-clockwise eight times. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few slow breaths.
Strengthening Desk Exercises
Cycling ExerciseStrengthening Desk Exercises will strengthen the muscle groups that are commonly neglected by “Desk potatoes”. Begin with 10 repetitions per exercise, and then, gradually increase the number of repetitions on a weekly basis.
This is an isometric exercise that will strengthen your neck muscles and prevent tension in that area. Grasp your chin with the palms of both your hands. Bend your head forward as far as possible. Try to push your head back with your hands, while resisting it with your neck muscles. Very slowly, against the tension, push your head backwards all the way. Resume the original position. Repeat.
Isometric arm push
With your elbows bent, push your palms together as hard as possible. Hold this position of maximum tension for 10 seconds, then relax. Repeat.
Step up with your right leg to full extension on a chair. Step back down, repeat with your left leg. Alternate legs, stepping up and down with increasing speed. Try to do this non–stop for a minute. Gradually, try to increase the amount of time you do this exercise in.
Keep a small, fist–sized rubber ball in your desk. As often as possible, place the ball in the palm of your hand and squeeze it as hard as possible. Maintaining the maximum tension, hold the ball for 10 seconds. Relax, then repeat.
With your back facing a sturdy chair, support your body with your arms straight. Bend your elbows, lowering your body down. Slowly raise yourself up. Repeat 10 times.
Stretching Desk Exercises
Stretching Exercises1. Full Body Stretch at The Wall & Stretching The Shoulders
Stretching Exercises Stand up facing the wall and reach your fingers up as far as you can. While you stretch up, also stretch down by placing your feet firmly on the floor. Firm up your legs, extend the side of the torso and bring your shoulder blades towards the wall. Breathe fully as you stretch, walking your fingers up the wall. Move a little away from the wall so that your torso is diagonal to your hips and press both palms onto the wall equally. Press into the ground with your feet, firm up your legs and release your tailbone away from the wall. Lift up your ribs and let your head drop slightly. You can also do this with the back of a chair. Place your hands on the chair and walk back until your torso is extended to be parallel with the floor. Firm up your legs, lift up your abdominal muscles and lift your ribs while releasing your spine.
2. Forearm And Wrist
Place your right palm to the wall, spreading your fingers equally. Extend your elbow and press your palm fully onto the wall. Wait a few breaths and then turn your head to the left, bringing the tip of your right shoulder blade in towards the front of your body. Hold and breathe.
3. Extended Full Body Stretch
Take your arms out to your sides with your palms facing down. Extend your fingers and stretch through your elbows. Rotate your shoulders back and bring your palms facing up on exhalation. On your next exhale bring your arms up overhead with your palms facing each other. Again, press your feet into the floor and firm up your legs, stretching your side torso. After a few breaths, interlock your fingers and press your palms up to the ceiling, stretching your fingers and keeping your palms open. Hold this stretch and then, on an exhale, curve to the side. Repeat on the other side.
This can also be done seated at your desk. If you are seated, make sure to press your thigh bones deeply into your chair even as you stretch up.
4. Sitting Posture
Practice sitting with an upright torso, the sides of your torso extending and your head resting comfortably on your neck. Bring your hands down to the seat of your chair and roll your shoulders back, bringing the shoulder blades into your back.
5. Opening Your Chest
Interlock your fingers behind your back with your palms facing your torso. Roll your shoulders back, but keep your ribs from poking forward. Stretch your elbows and arms on the exhale and hold it for a few breaths. On the exhale, bend your elbows and bring your wrists to the right side of your waist, gently pressing the right elbow towards the left. Release and do it the other side, then repeat yet again with your fingers interlocked with the opposite thumb on top.
6. Opening The Back
Hug your body, placing your right hand on your left shoulder and left hand on your right shoulder. Breathe into the area between your shoulder blades. On the exhale, bring your lower arms to a perpendicular position to the floor, with the palms facing each other. Stretch your fingers up, and on the next exhale, raise your elbows up to your shoulder height. Hold for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side.
7. Releasing The Neck
Shrug your shoulders high up to your ears and then release and drop. Repeat at least three times.
8. Releasing The Side Of The Neck
Sit forward on the seat of your chair with your feet planted firmly on the floor. With your right hand, reach back to the back of your seat or the rear of the seat itself. Extend your torso and drop the chin into your chest. Pull diagonally to the left and place your left hand on the right side of your head, gently pulling the head away from the right shoulder. Hold and breathe, stretching from the base of your skull to your shoulder. Repeat to the other side.
9. Twisting The Torso
With the feet planted firmly in the ground, and the thigh bones pressing into your chair, exhale and lift and turn your belly to the right. Let your hands help you turn by pressing into the seat or the back of your chair. Gradually increase the twist and let your eyes turn to the right around your shoulder. Repeat to the other side. Remember to keep breathing slowly and deeply as you twist.
10. Stretching Forearms
Bring your palms together in front of your chest in a prayer–like position stretching all your fingers fully. Relax your shoulders. Slowly, stretch the heel of your palms down until they are at the level of your wrists. If you can do this stretch without discomfort, you can increase your stretch by moving your hands over to the right and holding for a few breaths. Repeat to the left. Stretch slowly and carefully, observing the sensations of your forearm and wrist.
11. Stretching The Wrist
Make fists of your hands and place them, thumb up, on the desk top. Support your lower arm on the desk. Slowly, stretch the fist to the right, without moving your lower arm, and then to the left. Lift your arms off the desk top and make slow circles with your wrist, keeping your hands in closed fists. Circle in both directions.
Release your fingers and place them, tips up, on the edge of your desk. Press into the desk with your fingers. Try this first with your fingers together and then spread them apart.
12. Stretching The Fingers
Place your index finger on the edge of your desk, keeping your wrists straight. Gently, push into the desk and hold for a few breaths. Repeat with all your fingers except your thumb.
13. Stretching The Thumb
Place your right palm on the desk top with your wrist straight. Relax all your fingers. With your left hand, slowly, stretch the right thumb away from your forefinger. Hold for a few breaths and then release, and do the same to the other hand.
14. Shaking Out Tension
Shake out your wrists and arms, letting them dangle from your shoulders. Rotate your shoulders forwards and back.
15. Relax The Eyes And Breathe
Turn your head right and left, looking into the far distance. Close your eyes and take some deep, slow breaths.
Tips & Steps for Exercise
You may not want to turn your office into a mini gym, but there are exercises you can do at or near your desk to boost energy levels, relieve stress and burn calories
- Use discretion at the workplace by knowing what’s appropriate for your work environment.
- If you’re not familiar with strength–training exercises, seek the assistance of a personal trainer or knowledgeable friend to get you started properly.
- Always warm up or begin exercising gradually.
- Perform enough repetitions of each exercise to feel fatigue in the muscles being worked.
- It helps to have comfortable clothes on hand or a workplace that observes a casual dress code.
- Try some squats: Stand in front of your office chair with your feet shoulder–width apart. Bend your knees as though you’re sitting on the chair, keeping your weight on your heels. When your legs are parallel to the seat of your chair, slowly, rise to your original standing position.
- Take a wide stance with your toes pointing outwards. Standing upright, slowly, bend your knees in the direction of your toes until you can no longer see your toes. Slowly, return to your starting position.
- Hold up the wall with wall sits: With your back touching the wall, move your feet away from the wall, so that the wall supports the weight of your back. Bend your knees so that your legs form a 90Â° angle. Hold as long as you can.
- With your arms by your side, take a giant step forwards with your right leg so that your thigh is parallel to the floor. Pushing off the same leg, return to your starting position. Repeat with your left leg. (Traveling lunges are also an option.)
- During a coffee break, try calf raises: Holding onto your desk or a file cabinet for balance, raise your heels off the floor, then lower.
- Peek into your neighbor’s cubical while you do toe raises: Sitting in your chair or standing, lift and lower your toes while keeping your heels on the ground, or walk around on the heels of your feet.
- While sitting or standing, squeeze the muscles of your rear end. Hold, then relax.
- Get on the floor and do some crunches: Lying on your back with your knees bent, reach for your knees, hold for two counts, then return to the floor.
- Stay on the floor to do some push–ups: Perform push–ups standing upright with your hands a little wider than shoulder–width apart, against a wall or lying facedown on the ground.
- Do some dips: With the palms of your hands on your chair and feet on the floor, scoot your rear end off the end of your chair. Bend your elbows, lowering your body, then straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
- Release your tension with shoulder raises: Raise your shoulders up to your ears, hold, then relax.