Modern businesses know that if they want healthy, happy, more productive workers they need to encourage those that are desk-bound to exercise more.
Sedentary occupations are making office workers more prone to injuries, they’ve got neck- and back pain, cardiovascular risk is high, they have high blood pressure, they’re jittery, on edge, uptight and they’re putting on weight.
Small changes to combat a sedentary lifestyle at the office can include walking over to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing them, taking the stairs instead of the lift or doing some exercises right at your desk. These toning and strengthening exercises can work for your thighs, stomach and butt.
One of the easiest way to remain active as work is to practice micro movements and ergonomic stretches throughout the day. Here are some simple ones to get you started:
Neck Tilts to Relieve Tension
Neck pain is a common problem with people who spend 8 hours a day at their desk. If your neck is stiff and sore, exercises and stretches can strengthen the muscles in your neck, increase flexibility and eliminate pain not only in your neck, but your shoulders and arms too.
With a forward and backward tilt, you can even remain seated. Keeping your back straight, lower your chin toward your chest and keep it like that for up to 30 seconds. Slowly lift your head up again. Now tilt your chin up so that you’re looking at the ceiling, bringing the base of your skull down close to your back, and hold the position for 10 seconds. You can repeat this tilt exercise several times during the day.
Lower Back Stretch
Remain seated in your chair, making sure that throughout this exercise you keep your back straight. Sit forward and bring one knee up toward your chest, pulling the back of the thigh gently toward you. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg. This exercise can also be repeated several times during the day.
Shrug Your Shoulders
Be aware of areas of tension in your body and try to stretch to relieve it. Shrug your shoulders and release tension in your shoulders and upper back. Simply take a deep breath, raising your shoulders to your ears. Hold your shoulders like that for a few seconds, release your breath and lower your shoulders. Repeat throughout the day.
Wrist and Finger Stretches
Simple desk wrist and finger stretches strengthen both hand and wrist, with the idea of eliminating repetitive strain injury. The first sign you have with RSI is localized pain. Repeated movements with your hand over and over again bring on inflammation as well as damage to the tendons, muscles and nerves. While seated at your desk, place your palms face up under the desk. Press firmly upwards against the bottom of the desk and hold the position for up to 10 seconds. Repeat as often as you like as the exercise will strengthen the muscles running from the wrists to your elbows.
Other Ways to Remain Healthy at the Office
Doing ergonomic exercises should be part of an overall strategy for staying healthy while at work. Some of the other important things to do are:
- Get up and move around the office every 30 minutes
- Eat healthy at work
- Get an ergonomic office chair that supports your body properly
- Alternate between sitting and standing
Regular exercise at your desk can strengthen muscles, develop strength in the abdominal muscles, relieve tension in the neck and reduce lower back stress. You’ll notice over the weeks that the more active you become, the greater your health benefits and the lower your risk for certain diseases.