Exercises That You can do at Your Desk

Sitting at an office desk for long periods of time, looking at a computer screen or working on the keyboard, can cause muscle stiffness and strain. The posture can result in back and neck pains and also cause problems in the legs, butt and arm muscles. Constant keyboarding can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Scientific research now shows that sitting results in various health problems and you are advised to get up every hour and move around. If you can work standing up, all the better. However, till such time as your work or office environment can follow health advisory guidelines, here are some simple exercises that will prevent or reduce muscle problems.

    • Stretches while sitting – Roll your neck clockwise and counter clockwise (very slowly) every little while. Roll your shoulders backwards and forwards. Roll your wrists clockwise and counter clockwise. Do the same with your ankles. Move your upper body from the shoulders backwards, keeping the back straight; if you have space move your arms backwards so that you feel a stretch across your chest. Contract your abdominal muscles, moving your stomach towards your back as far as you can and then relax. Put your feet flat on the floor and stretch your feet till you are on tiptoes and then relax, putting the heel back on the floor. Do all these 5-10 times each every hour for best results.
    • Stretches while standing at the desk – Lean forward, putting your arms down on the desk. Putting your weight on one arm, put the other arm downwards to try and reach your foot and grip the toes, while holding the foot upwards to shorten the distance. Repeat with the other side. This exercises both your arms and legs.
    • Bending body in ‘V’ form – Stand straight, a little away from the desk and put your hands just above your pelvis. Move your arms backwards as you bend forward, one foot ahead of the other. Bend so that you form a ‘V’ with your head and foot. Reverse the posture, turning the other side.
    • Stretches while sitting on the floor – Sit on both your knees and put your arms around the back behind the butt. Interleave the fingers to form a tight clasp and move the clasped hands upwards, as high as they can go, aiming to keep them parallel to the shoulders. This will alleviate back and neck pain and stiffness and also counteract the computer chest hunch.
    • Exercise your legs and lower body while sitting – Sit straight and move one leg upwards, first parallel to the floor and then upwards as far as it will go. Hold for a couple of seconds and then lower it. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat from between 5 and 10 times.

While you can do these exercises sitting or standing near or at your desk, it is also a good idea to simply get up and walk around every hour. If you have space, you can also do push-ups or other free hand exercises to get the circulation moving, improve flexibility and prevent stiffness and cramps.

What are your favorite office exercises?

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