Chances are you are sitting in front of a computer reading this blog, in between replying to mountains of emails and wondering where all the paper on your desk appeared from. “Exercise?” you think. “Who has time?” Well, believe it or not, there are quick and effective ways to get yourself moving and never leave your desk.
And before you roll your eyes at how silly “Deskercise” sounds, the sad fact is that sitting at a desk all day is literally killing us. The World Health Organisation estimates that 3.2 million deaths can be attributed to a lack of physical activity. So take some small breaks throughout the day and try these simple exercises – the biggest changes often start with the smallest steps.
Sit upright, with your feet slightly off the floor. Place your hands lightly on your desk for balance and use your core to swivel your chair to the side 5 times each way.
Sitting nice and tall in your chair, nod your head downwards (giving yourself a double chin). You should feel a nice stretch in the top of your neck, and (for some) reaching down to your shoulder blades. Repeat during the day as many times as you like. You’ll be surprised how good this stretch feels.
Sit forward in your chair, link your hands behind your back and pull your shoulders back as far as you can while pushing out your chest. Release your arms, and give them a bit of a shake. Repeat during the day when you feel your shoulders and arms getting heavy.
Rock your feet from your heel to your toes while sitting at your desk half a dozen times. Try this when you are dealing with a particularly boring phone call, or are bogged down with paperwork. You can change it up by alternating your feet (maybe when the 3:00pm urge to snooze hits).
Keeping your legs relaxed, while seated, tense your glutes (yes, your butt), and hold for five seconds. Relax for five seconds, then repeat. Try doing this 15 times twice a day. No one will ever guess (although tensing your face at the same time might give it away, so try to avoid that).
Sitting straight, raise your right leg, with your toes pointing up, until it you feel a nice stretch in your calf. Hold for 5 seconds, then repeat with the opposite leg. Another stretch that will feel surprisingly good if you have been sitting for a long time.
OK, we lied, this one does involve leaving your desk. But you don’t have to walk around the block – just get up and move a little. Walk down the corridor and personally deliver that message instead of replying to the email. Leave your lunch in your car so you have to walk downstairs to get it. There are many ways to make movement part of your working day with minimal effort.
So what are you waiting for? Dust off those leg-warmers (or not) and get “deskercising”.