Have you heard of Desk-ercise? It’s true- most of us spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week sitting at our desks, looking at a computer. With the growing popularity of Fit-bits and pedometers, we’ve learned the importance of making an effort to get more “steps” in every day. But what other things could we be doing to help combat the effects of a full-time desk job? Read on to find out.
You may think of stretching as something to be done following physical activity. It is also important to do throughout the day, especially when sitting for long periods of time. Doing moves such as the ones below will help get the blood moving as well as reduce some common aches and pains caused by the work environment. Caution: some are more discreet than others! Here are some of our favorites!
Whether you wear a Fit-bit or not, get moving! If possible, take 10-15 minutes of your lunch break to walk outside, or ask your Be Well Team about starting a walking group. If weather or the area you work in are not fit for this, you can still find small ways of incorporating more walking into your day. Take the stairs whenever you are traveling a few floors up or down!
Start drinking more water to take more trips (and steps) to the restroom (maybe pick one farther away from your desk to go the extra mile). It also gives your eyes a break from looking at your computer or reading material. Plus drinking water is great for your mind and body! – Instead of emailing a brief email to a co-worker, try physically going over to his or her desk to relay your message.
Wrist Roll: Roll both wrists every hour or so- both right and left wrists, 10 rolls each direction.
Finger Stretch: Extend your fingers out as far as they can go, then bring them back in and squeeze your hand in a fist. Hold each stretch for 5 seconds, and repeat several times.
Shoulder Stretch: Place your opposite hand below the elbow with the arm across your chest. Don’t rotate your body as you hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds. You should feel tension in the back of your shoulder. Slowly let go of your arm and repeat on the other side.
Neck Roll: Close your eyes and let your chin drop down towards your chest. Begin to circle your neck slowly, bringing your right ear toward your right shoulder, the head back and then the left ear toward the left shoulder. Complete 3-5 rolls in each direction.
Upper Arm Stretch: Lift one arm and bend it behind your head, then place the other hand on the bent elbow to help stretch your upper arm and shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
Leg Extension: Sitting in your chair with your back pressed flat against the backrest, extend your legs out straight in front of you, flexing your thighs. Point, and then flex your toes 10 times, keeping legs extended. Here are some more ways to get your heart pumping, and maybe even break a sweat!
Wall Push-ups: Facing a wall, place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart, at chest level. Walk your feet back about 6 inches. Slowly bend your elbows as your bring your chest towards the wall, pause, and return to the start. Keep your core braced throughout the movement.
Wall Sits: Stand facing away from a wall, with your back pressed up against it. Pull your belly button towards your spine as you slowly walk your feet out away from the wall and slide your torso down the wall, until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Engage your thigh muscles and core, as you hold this position- aim for 30 seconds to a minute, and increase as you get stronger!
Triceps Dips: Place your palms on the edge of a (non-mobile) chair or ledge at similar height, with fingers facing forward. Keeping knees bent at about 90 degrees, walk your feet out several feet in front of you. Keep your weight back in your palms as you slowly bend your elbows back behind you to lower your body. Pause at the bottom and straighten your arms. Repeat 10-20 times. Make this move more challenging by walking your feet out further from you, and/or straightening your legs, keeping your heels on the ground.
With these tips and tricks, your body will feel more energized and refreshed at work in no time! For more information on deskercises, reach out to your Be Well Team!