Desk-ercise: 5 Simple Exercises for Everyday at the Office
Forget working for that summer body; it is important to nourish and care for our bodies no matter the season. The harsh reality is that the average American spends anywhere from four to eight hours a day doing the worst thing we could possibly do for our physical wellness — sitting still. Whether it’s at a desk or in the car for your daily commute, studies show that not only sitting but how we sit, type, and hold the phone may be wreaking havoc on our bones, joints, and muscles. According to the Mayo Clinic, the impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, your ability to move and your mental well-being, especially as you age.
This is some heavy information, but beyond the dark side of the desk, there is hope. We’ve compiled this list of some simple stretches and exercises you can practice daily, no gym membership required, to boost energy and help break some of those bad office habits!
Mama said it was rude to point — we beg to differ!
In the arsenal of office work life weapons, our hands are definitely the most utilized, but often the most neglected. Stretch your hands, wrists, and forearms using these motions:
- Stretch your left hand out in front of you, wrists bent, fingers pointed to the floor. Use your right hand to increase this stretch by pushing your fingers down and toward the body. Be gentle. Repeat with opposite hand.
- Now stretch your left hand out straight in front, then bend wrist fingers pointing skyward. Use your right hand to increase this stretch, pulling the fingers back toward your body. Repeat with opposite hand.
Place your feet flat on the floor, spine upright, and rest the palms of your hands on top of your knees. Inhale, arch your back and look at the ceiling, pulling your shoulders back as you do so. When you exhale, round your spine, pull the shoulders toward each other at the front of the body and drop your head toward your chest. This will stretch and open the back, shoulders, and neck. Do approximately 8 to 10 complete rounds.
Simply Stand Up and Sit Down — No Hands!
Add value to those trips to the water cooler, the bathroom, and to hunt down a co-worker for that “did you see my email?” peek into their cubicle! Practice lifting yourself off and setting yourself back down into your seat without touching your desk or the arms of your chair!
Give Yourself a Hug
Hug your body, placing the right hand on your left shoulder and the left hand on your right shoulder. Breathe in and out, releasing the area between your shoulder blades.
Healthy choices can be contagious, especially within the close-quarters of office places. Get your co-workers involved by scheduling your next 10–30 minute meeting outdoors! Our blissful Bay Area summer weather makes this a must.
Hamstring Chair Stretch
Stand up (no hands, remember?!), and position yourself about 1–2 feet behind your chair. Stand up straight, with your shoulders back, and feet pointing forward. Keep your knees straight, but not locked. Keeping your neck aligned with your back throughout this move, bend at the hips to a 90-degree angle. Move the chair forward so you are putting the weight of your body on the chair and not holding yourself up-you’ll feel the stretch more this way. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
Interested in more office appropriate stretches and exercises to get you through your day? Check out these sources!
WebMD: Stretching Exercises at Your Desk: 12 Simple Tips
Health Line: Stretches to Do at Work Every Day
The Muse: 17 Desk Stretches That’ll (Almost) Replace Going to the Gym