Perk up long days in the office with deskercises. Deskercising can top up any regular exercise routine, and it will always serve as a healthy second-best when our customary workout has to go by the board. Energising stretches, muscle strengthening moves and short bursts of aerobic exercise can all be fitted seamlessly into every working day – right there at your desk.
We’re not designed to sit still for long spells; to remain physically healthy and mentally alert, we need to move about. So, as a general rule, stand rather than sit, and walk rather than stand; shift and alter your sitting position at least every forty minutes and take regular, short breaks in order to walk around and stretch a little.
Now, for the deskercises…
Even, or more to the point especially when work renders us desk-bound for hours on end, taking just a minute to pump up our heart rate pays huge dividends: refreshed and better able to concentrate we work more productively, and regularly ‘jumping’ our heart rate up from resting pace to pounding helps protect against heart disease. Got a minute? Then, try these…
1) Seated at your desk, pump both arms over your head for thirty seconds, then tap your feet rapidly on the floor, soccer-drill style, for thirty seconds. Repeat three to five times.
2) March or run on the spot for sixty seconds – lift those knees higher!
3) Run or even walk up a flight of stairs five times a day; take them two at a time for a tougher workout.
These simple, discreet stretches help stop under-employed muscles from seizing up; the stretches are useful de-stressors, too.
1) Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right, hold for a few seconds. Repeat fifteen times, alternating sides.
2) Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky. After ten seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
3) Sitting up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax. Exercises extracted from The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book by Joan Price
Sit too long hunched over the computer and we invite neck and back problems, headache and sluggish digestion. Loosen up and keep trouble at bay with these quick, easy, chair-based exercises…
1) This exercise helps to stretch out the muscles on the sides of the neck, and also keeps the joints in the cervical spine mobile. Dip your left ear over your left shoulder to stretch the muscles on the right side of your neck, hold for twenty seconds, then repeat on the right; aim for two to three repetitions on each side. Then, with your chin tucked in, slowly turn your head to the right and left, five times to each side.
2) Try this ‘chair twist’ to mobilise and relax your spine; it, also, stimulates the digestive system and eases bloating. Sit sideways on the chair, with the chair back on your right. Keep your feet flat on the floor, and knees in line with your hips. Grasp the sides of the chair back, one hand on each side, and gently rotate your torso towards it, pushing the right hand away and pulling the left hand in towards you. Look over your right shoulder and hold the posture for twenty to thirty seconds, breathing freely. Repeat facing the other way.
Yes, we can deskercise to strengthen and tone muscles, too. Are you sitting comfortably? Let the workout begin…
1) Chin tucks improve upper-body posture and strengthen the stabilising muscles in the neck. The tuck should be a very slight nodding action, tucking your chin straight in and back (like the way a pigeon’s head moves when the bird walks). Repeat five times, holding each tuck for up to ten seconds.
2) Work chest and shoulders by placing your hands on your chair arms and slowly lifting your bottom off the seat. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat, hold for a few seconds. Repeat fifteen times.
3) No need to lie on the floor to work your abs. For this core strengthener, sit upright on your chair, with weight evenly spread on both feet. Without letting your pelvis tilt or your back slump, lift your right foot off the floor, bringing the thigh towards the torso and keeping tummy muscles engaged. Pause, then lower and repeat with the left leg. Alternate for two sets of eight repetitions.
Almost everyone who types on a keyboard for hours at a time will be familiar with, at the very least, stiff or aching fingers, hands, wrists and forearms. Both the exercises below are designed to benefit all who use a keyboard regularly.
1) This fingers and thumbs exercise helps prevent repetitive strain injury. Place an elastic band – a reasonably taut one – around the middle of all four fingers and the top of your thumb, close all digits together. Now draw away your thumb, working against the resistance of the elastic band. Hold for a count of three and repeat five times. Swap hands.
2) For this wrist and forearm stretch, hold your right arm straight out in front of you, palm facing up. Use your left hand to pull your fingers back and down towards the floor – you’ll feel the stretch on the underside of your forearm and wrist. Now turn the arm palm down, and draw the fingers back towards the forearm, keeping them straight. Swap sides.
Written by Dr. Noel Duncan