Do you sit at a desk all day? Getting a bit of exercise at work each day is essential both for your own wellbeing and to avoid ergonomic problems in the workplace, particularly when glued to a computer screen for hours.
This does not need to be a ten-mile hike in your coffee break but a few simple exercise routines can keep you fit and make a difference. Why not try one or two today and build them into your daily routine!
Be active at work
The human body was both designed to be, and functions better, if we’re active. So at least every hour, get up and move away from your desk. Use lunchtime or a break of some sort (toilet/tea/water break) as an opportunity to get up and move around. A few minutes are sufficient enough to get the blood flowing again and you’ll return to your desk feeling revitalised.
Office environments can dry you out, particularly with air-conditioning, but if you spend long periods at a desk, hydration is easy. Limit your caffeine intake - too much caffeine can result in headaches, dry and sore throats, and feeling lethargic. Always keep a bottle of water at arm’s reach. Take frequent swigs and you’ll keep your fluid levels topped up.
Eat for energetic activity
Correct nutrition makes a big difference to an exercise routine and the desk workout is no different. To maintain your energy levels, have small, frequent meals and snacks. Fruit is a great healthy snack and bananas are ideal. Also, try a handful of raisins or dried fruit or a low-fat yogurt. If you follow the simple eating, drinking, exercise and mobility ideas above, not only will you combat the effects of long hours spent at your desk, you’ll be setting good standards for your all-round health and nutrition.
Stretch at your work station
Taking a short break every thirty minutes from your work can not only stop you feeling stiff but a change of scenery or activity is also an effective way of being more productive. Start with your neck and stretching that. Flex your neck backwards and forwards and then from side to side and look from right to left. Don’t roll your head around your neck because this can cause muscle damage. To work out your shoulders and release the tension in those muscles roll your shoulders forward for ten minutes and then backwards. Feel better? And the best bit is that it can be done right at your desk.
Chest exercises at the desk
If you are prone to hunching over the computer then this exercise is for you. Stretch your arms out wide as if you are about to hug someone and then rotate your wrists by moving the thumbs up and back. Now pull your shoulders back. What a stretch. And this is a great exercise to do during the day to help prevent hunching up at the desk.
The stairs are your friend
One of the best ways to burn a few calories is to use the stairs instead of the lift. Walking up two flights of stairs is one of the simplest ways of stretching your legs in an office and making that occasional slice of cake in a tea break justifiable. Around 75 calories can be burnt up by walking up 2 flights of stairs twice a day. Even walking around every hour helps keep the circulation moving and you refreshed. Don’t forget to take a short walk outside during your break as well just to get some fresh air and stretch your legs. Using a pedometer is another great way of seeing just how far you do walk in a day, or not as the case may be.
Take a deep breath
There are times when most people need to take a deep breath when dealing with a difficult situation or thinking before speaking. Deep breathing can also help exercise abdominal muscles and can easily be done in an office setting. Hold your breath in for a few seconds and breathe out slowly, repeating a few times. Taking a deep breath in is an excellent way of helping to relax when dealing with those workplace pressures. Work out at work day is a great opportunity to think about yourself for a change and build a little bit of exercise into your daily routine. Give it a try and see how you feel.
[DISCLAIMER: Contents of this article are for general information purposes and is not meant to replace physiotherapy or medical consultation.]
What exercise did you try today? How do you get to work? Is there any part of the journey that could be done by walking or cycling?