We live in a world that is unable to function without technology and requires sitting at a desk all day. Desk workouts are great because you are still at your desk, and they allow you to take that break you need when you feel overwhelmed or need to refresh your mind.
6 Workouts To Do At Your Desk (And A Bonus One Too)
The following desk workouts are organized to start with upper body to end with lower body. The recommendation for the below is minimum three times a day (morning, lunch hour and before you leave work) or maximum five times a day (before a big meeting, your breaks, or instead of grabbing the coffee, do the workouts.
Desk Workout #1: Shoulder-Neck Stretch
Move your chair a foot back from your desk. Place both feet firmly on the floor. Drop your shoulders back; tuck your chin back to avoid straining your neck. Place your right hand under your chair holding the bottom; take your left hand, place on the upper right side of your head.
Gently pull your head towards the left side. Don’t push your head forward to hunch forward, and do not throw off your alignment. Feel the stretch along the side of your neck down through your shoulders. You have two options- hold it based on your threshold for how long you want to feel that stretch till you want to switch, or repeat five times per side.
Desk Workout #2: Forearm Stretch
Moving your chair a foot back from your desk, shoulders down, chin tuck back, hold your right arm out in front of you, palm down, hand facing up. Take your left hand, to slowly bend your fingers all the way down to stretch your forearm. Repeat with the left arm.
Carpal tunnel syndrome begins with tension in your forearm, until it builds up at the base of your hand. Stretching your forearms daily prevents the tension from building up throughout your whole arm. Acupuncture is a good option to relieving these tension points.
Desk Workout #3: Shoulder Rolls
Moving your chair a foot back from your desk, shoulders down, chin tuck back, leaving your arms loose, roll your right shoulder back and allow your arm to move with your shoulder to loosen up. Repeat the left side the same way, and eventually let both roll one after the other, so your muscles do not tighten, but loosen up.
Desk Workout #4: Hip Opener
When we sit for long periods of time, our hip flexors become tight, shortening our torso, because our lower back is not stretched and aligned the way it should be. Move your chair back from your desk, shoulders back, stomach relaxed- move to the front edge of your chair. Bring your right foot across on your left thigh. Push down on your right knee, to feel a stretch in your hip flexor. For balance, hold your foot with your other hand so you can increase your flexibility as you push on your knee. Repeat switching legs.
Each time you do this, practice increasing your flexibility and bring your foot up higher on your thigh. If your hip flexors are tighter than you can bare- then re-examine how you are doing your crunches because a common mistake is to work your hip flexors rather than your abdominals based on your alignment.
Desk Workout #5: Feet Arches
Moving your chair back from your desk, remove your shoes, and stand up, hold your desk for support (don’t hold the computer!). You can either do one foot at a time or do both. Keeping one foot off the floor, use the other foot to slowly push yourself up and off the ground. Go slowly and eventually adjust the speed to your comfort level. Feel the stretch in the arches of your feet, calves and also your toes.
This is incredibly important for women who wear heels; depending on the type of shoe, it will squish your toes at the front of the shoe, providing you with no support. Repeat on both sides.
Desk Workout #6: Back Stretch
Standing up, shoulders back, pelvis tucked under and abdominals relaxed, take both your hands, behind your lower back, just above your buttocks, gently push forward to stretch your lower back. Hold based on your threshold for how long you want to feel the stretch. As you release to come back to standing, slowly bend forward till you feel the stretch towards the floor.
To increase your flexibility, breathe in and out and with each breathe reach farther down with your hands when bending forward and hold the stretch longer when bending backwards. Repeat this exercise based on your comfort depending on your back, your flexibility and health concerns.
Bonus Desk Workout: Relaxation
I’m including this as a bonus, because it involves two chairs, a towel/blanket and also to be away from your desk for five minutes. It also involves having a colleague as your partner. Sitting back straight on your chair, stretch your feet onto another chair. Roll a towel (or blanket) place at the top of your chair, so when you bend your head back, your neck rests on the towel. Close your eyes and take deep breathes for five minutes with your hands on your lap or at the sides, do not cross your hands. Have your partner time five minutes.
Take turns doing this desk workout, if it’s lunch hour, do this for twenty minutes, alternating between partners to time each other. If it’s a 15 minute break, you each can time five minutes and still get your tea.
Article Author: Ayeesha S. Kanji
Photo Credit: Bigstock