Whether you work from home or at the office, staying fit is a difficult task on the daily agenda. We all tend to work more hours, leaving no room for exercising or even time to relax. This type of lifestyle has been shown to be bad for our health. So, how is it possible to stay fit, without leaving your desk?
Doctors and researchers have found that staying fit, at your desk, can include muscle strengthening exercises, stretching and more. Rather than taking time for a traditional workout, the benefits accumulate even with desk exercises.
Humans were created to move, yet we spend endless hours sitting at our desks, working away on computers most days. When you sit the same way for hours on end, without moving, you can expect to develop back pain, fatigue, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome and more.
We’ve put together a list of exercises that can all be done at your desk. Keep in mind these won’t replace your workouts at home; however, they will supplement those workouts.
10 Exercises to Do at Your Desk
Each of the following exercises can be done for 10 reps, and then repeated a second time again.
1). Shoulder shrugs: this is an exercise that’s great for relieving tension that held in your shoulders and upper body, especially if you’ve been seated in front of the computer for extended periods.
All you have to do is do controlled shoulder shrugs all the way to your ears. The key here is to keep the movements controlled. Be sure to keep your arms down at your sides while you do these.
2). Side bends: this exercise is meant to improve flexibility and use the muscles in your arms, abs, ribs and waist.
For this exercise, just sit up tall, and then do a long reach to the left and then the right. Make sure to sit up tall in between reaches.
3). Side rotations: to improve flexibility and movement in the upper body, this exercise will work on your ribs and abs.
Place both hands on your shoulders—left hand on right shoulder, right hand on left shoulder. As if you’re hugging yourself. Sit up tall, leaving space between your back and the chair. Your entire upper body needs to be able to move. Then turn to the left and then to the right.
4). Chair knee lifts: this exercise will work the largest muscles in your legs, and even works the muscles in your lower leg.
In a seated position, of course, place your hands on top of your head. Be sure to sit all and make a space between your back and the chair. With feet flat on the floor, do single knee lifts—left, right, left right, without using your hands for support.
5). Ankle reach with an overhead push: the name of this exercise may sound a bit strange, but we’re here to assure you it’s quite normal and safe. This desk exercise will work your abs, shoulders, arms and lungs.
In a seated position, reach down as far as you can with both hands to touch your ankles, then push both hands up overhead as far as possible. This is a great stretch to release tension and get blood to moving again when you’re sitting for prolonged periods.
Are you beginning to feel the burn? Don’t stop now! We’ve got more desk exercises for you!
6). Stress buster: this is a great way to relieve stress and improve posture!
Sit up tall in your chair, clasp your hands behind your back, and gently pull arms away from your back. Feel the stretch in your chest. Now you’ll be able to breathe again!
7). Midsection strengthener: this exercise may feel a little bit strange, but it works your midsection to make it stronger and less flabby.
Sitting in your chair, pretend you’re zipping up a tight pair of jeans. To do this, you’ll need to suck in your ab muscles. You can do this in a pulsing movement by sucking it in, then releasing, sucking it in and releasing. Do this about 5 times in the same session (if you can).
8). Upper arm and shoulder exercise: this is a great way to improve your arm and upper body strength.
Suck in your abs and place your hands should-width apart on the desk—while sitting down. Bend your elbows, lean forward toward the desk and then perform pushups.
Be sure to keep movements controlled in order to gain any benefits from this exercise. Do this about 10 times a session.
9). Quad toner: this is a great way to tone and strengthen the quad muscles—all while sitting!
All you have to do is point one leg forward and squeeze that thigh at the same time. Then lift this leg to about hip height and tap it back down. You can do this about 10 times, alternating between legs.
10). Stretch the hamstring: this works to relieve back pain and will require you to stand and lean forward.
For this exercise, stand up and lean forward and let your head and arms dangle in front of you. Think of a rag doll. Stay relaxed. Place feet about as wide as your hips, then bend knees to keep the pose more comfortable.
Additional Ways to Stay Healthy at Your Desk
We hope these exercises have made you feel the burn and that you feel more relaxed, too! What else can you do to stay healthy at your desk? We’ve got some tips for you!
Maintain good posture: sitting all day in front of a computer makes most of us slump over. However, good posture, with no slumping, can actually help reduce fatigue and stress on muscles and joints. To maintain good posture, you’ll need to make sure the office chair is ergonomically correct for you. It should be the proper height for your body. In addition, it’s important to ensure your thighs stay parallel to the floor, and then armrests are placed just below your elbows.
Drink more water: staying hydrated also helps you feel better and fights fatigue. Try to drink about 3 litres of water a day. You can even work this into your schedule and set reminders for three times during work hours.
Office furniture: changing up your office furniture can also make a big difference in your overall fitness. For instance, consider sitting on a stability instead of your office chair once in a while. Another option is to use a standing or treadmill desk.
And remember to get up and move around about once an hour. You can walk over to the water cooler and grab some hydration to take back to your desk!
These tips, combined with desk exercises, can help you stay fit and healthy even when you’re sitting at work all day.