Fitness at the desk

In this fast paced world most of us spend at least 8 hours behind a desk or staring at our computer screen. You may be on the phone with customers, reading email, typing reports or evaluating a project. You may be a great multi-tasker at work but you have to take a few moments each day to take of yourself.

There are some simple exercises that you can do, both sitting at your desk or standing near your desk. This will help to keep the blood moving through your body, keep your mind alert and therefore increase your productivity and self-esteem.

This fitness at the desk exercise is a modification of a Pilates exercise. By doing this you’ll improve the strength of your abdomen and waist. Sit straight and tall and let your shoulders relax. Focus on your belly button, take a breath and as you exhale imagine that you are pushing your belly button down to the chair. Hold it there as you breathe lightly. Work up to holding it for a count of 10 and do this 3 times a day. You’ll see a difference in just one week.

Kegel exercises are another that can be done without your colleagues recognizing that you are doing more than working. Kegels are done by pulling the pelvic floor muscles up while holding the stomach muscles in. This will feel like you are stopping urine mid-stream. Work up to holding this for a count of 10 three times a day.

You can also work your hands and arms to improve strength, move blood and increase alertness. Many stores carry squeeze balls for both stress relief and hand strengthening. You can use these while you’re on the phone, talking with clients, dictating or brainstorming. Department stores also sell light hand weights that you can use at the desk to strengthen your biceps. Do these exercises only once (10 reps, 2 sets) three times each week. This would be considered weight training and should only be done three times a week.

Another modification of exercise for biceps are ankle weights that you can use while sitting to exercise your quadriceps, hamstrings and gastroc’s. Strap on light weight ankle weights only three times each week. While sitting you can raise one leg straight up then down for 10 reps 3 sets. In another exercise you can raise the leg up and squeeze the leg back as strongly as possible. Release and replace your leg to the ground.

Don’t forget stretching! Your colleagues may look strangely but when your productivity goes up and you don’t want the same 2 pm nap that everyone else does they’ll be copying you. These stretches will ease muscle tension and promote health blood flow.

While standing near your desk you can do a runners stretch against the wall. Place your hands against the wall and move your feet approximately three feet away. Keeping your back straight lean into the wall, supporting your weight in your hands.

While sitting you can stretch your fingers by grasping the finger at the base and pulling very gently in the opposite direction. Hold for a count of 5. This is good if you spend a bit of time typing all day.

Stretch your neck by sitting tall in your chair with shoulders relaxed. Gently tilt your neck in all four directions going forward, then backward, then left and right. Hold each position for approximately 10 seconds.

Stretch your shoulders and hands by raising one hand straight above your head. Make a fist with your thumb outside. Release the fist and make it again. Repeat five times and then do with the opposite arm.

Another important item to fitness at the desk is an ergonomic chair that will keep you seated in a balanced position using all the correct muscles and without causing back pain or neck pain while working.

RESOURCES

ShortList: Get Fit Where You sit
http://www.shortlist.com/instant-improver/living/get-fit-at-your-desk

FitSugar: Tips to Get fit and Healthy Behind the Desk
http://www.fitsugar.com/Easy-Ways-Work-Your-Body-Office-10954906
Bradley University: Get Fit, Stay Fit
https://bradley.edu/campuslife/campusrec/GetFitStayFit/
Standing Fit: 14 Great Exercises at Work with Standing Fit
http://standingfit.com/exercise-at-work-standing-fit/
MayoClinic: Workplace Exercises: how To Burn Calories at Work
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/office-exercise/SM00115
Forbes: The 10 Best Exercises to do at Your Desk
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/02/06/the-10-best-exercises-to-do-at-your-desk/
WiseBread: 10 Exercises to Do at Work That don’t Make You Look Silly
http://www.wisebread.com/10-exercises-to-do-at-work-that-dont-make-you-look-silly

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