If you have an office job that often requires long periods looking at a laptop, sitting at a desk all day may seem like the most convenient way to get work done. However, fitness is an important part of many people’s day-to-day routines, so here are our top 5 ways to incorporate some desk-friendly exercises into your lifestyle at work.
This may seem too simple to be effective but as research has shown to prove, by actively reminding ourselves to push our shoulders back continuously throughout the working day, we can actually correct our posture over time. Developing a humpback sort of slump over our desks is something that many people fall victim to and this can be fixed by consciously encouraging a straighter, more upright position. An easy trick to accomplishing this is to imagine a wooden pole behind our necks which would therefore simultaneously push back our shoulders. If you want to alternate this position with a similar exercise, putting your arms behind the back of your chair and holding that position will also have the desired effect of improving posture in your shoulders. This is an exercise that can easily be practiced whilst also being productive with work at your desk.
Whilst this exercise is a little more active and will perhaps require you to take a break from work, these short intervals of movement are actually more useful for work productivity in the long run. Research suggests that individuals are actually most productive when they stand or take a break from sitting for 15 minutes every hour and this exercise means you don’t even have to leave your office to do that! In order to complete this activity, you should stand behind your desk before leaning forward to place both hands on top. Then, lower your body down before pushing back up into a standing position. This activity should allow your body to stretch so that your spine is no longer confined to a hunched position. Setting timers on your phone is a useful way to ensure you give your body this much-needed excuse to improve its posture.
Another position that allows you to continue being productive at work is arm circle exercises. This can be done in a seated position with your head forward and your arms extended on either side of your body. You should gently move your arms forward in controlled circular motions before repeating in the other direction. Whilst these exercises are great for general arm strength if you’re looking to improve your posture remember to imagine a pole behind your shoulders as you make these motions with your arms. The focus should be on keeping the resistance and tension in your shoulders. Being consistent with this exercise will have you walking and feeling like a brand new person!
Touch Your Toes
This activity can be done either seated or standing and is a great way to feel taller. If you have space within your office and won’t be disturbed, you can sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and try to touch your toes with your fingertips. A useful tip to getting the most out of this stretch is to find an object and fix your eyeline on it as you reach for your toes. By placing your laptop straight in front of you, you may even be able to read some emails as you stretch out and in. Similarly, if you want to take a 10-minute break from work altogether, this exercise can be done in a standing position in which you focus on standing up tall, before bending down to touch your toes.
When discussing posture, most people automatically think about your shoulders and back. However, research has found that by stretching the muscles in your neck, you allow your body to increase its flexibility and range of motion which in turn is beneficial to your overall posture. When we sit at our desks, we often find ourselves looking slightly down at laptop screens for extended periods of time. This can lead to neck pain and stiffness which can cause irritation outside of the office space as well as in. By taking a few minutes every day to simply look up, left, right, and down, we can help to relieve stiffness and extend our connecting spine. Alternative motions include rolling the head gently and moving your upper body to a twisted position so that you are looking left or right in your office chair.