10 Exercises you can do at your desk

Do you feel bad at the office? It's likely that your problem stems from the way you sit. The following provides a brief exercise manual that will help you to free up body parts that tend to go to sleep or give you trouble while you work in a seated position. So, let’s get to work!

The best medicine: Prevention is better than cure

The first thing to avoid is slouching, which is the best way of preventing the deformity known as Kyphosis. Don’t ignore the warning signs your body sends you. When seated at your desk, your back will be the first to be affected. Don’t wait until you need physiotherapy. As soon as you start to feel stiff, take a break. Start to exercise your back and shoulders. Take advantage of the fact that you are seated on a chair and place yourself on the edge. Sit up straight, flex your arms at the height of your chest and keeping your forearms horizontal try to make your elbows touch behind you in order to stretch the shoulder blades. Work on this exercise for five seconds and repeat several times.

Is your back so curved that your profile looks like a question mark?

It’s time to change your curved spine for an upright one in the form of an exclamation mark! Having an ergonomic chair is not enough. Remember that the neck is part of the vertebral column and in order not to suffer from headaches, after spending hours at your desk, it is important that you reduce tension not only in your back but also in your neck. Keep your neck straight and your crown pointing towards the ceiling. To help relax the tense muscles in your neck, move your head from left to right and viceversa, tilt it backwards and forwards and then finish up by making circles in all directions.

Avoid lack of feeling in your legs, feet, knees and ideas

Numbness in your legs and feet, combined with knee pain, can also lead to an unconscious mental block. Everything is connected. Adopting an exercise routine similar to those suggested in flight manuals is by no means taking things too seriously. Do you recall the kind of advice given? Don’t cross your legs while you work, stretch your legs frequently and make circular movements with your ankles. It’s a good idea to get out of the chair and walk about every now and then to reactivate blood circulation and clear your head. Try it out!

Don’t be stingy with your health, exercise your arms and elbows too

Whatever you do with your legs, do with your arms too. Stretch them, lift them up and down to reactivate blood flow and stop your muscles from going numb. It is probable that most of the time your work with your elbows resting on your desk in order to type or write. If this paints a good picture, shaking your arms from your shoulders to your hands is highly recommended. Don’t forget about your wrists, open and close your hands and move your fingers around whenever you can. Remember that the frequency of these exercises will depend upon how much discomfort you feel and how much time you are willing to devote.

A secretary with a waist to die for

Whilst seated, take the time to practice all kinds of bend and arches that go from the waist all the way through the spine. Twist from left to right and viceversa. As you twist to the right, send your right arm behind your back as far as possible and pull back using your left arm by holding on to your chair to create a good stretch. Go as far as you can to really deepen the stretch. Frequent twists and turns like this, ensuring you hold each stretch for a few seconds, will give you the waist you have always dreamed of. Keep at it!

Say goodbye to your love handles

The disadvantage of being seated all day goes without saying, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel! If you don’t have a lot of time to go to the gym and you spend too much time sat down, make these moments work in your favour. By following a series of simple exercises you can start to transform how you look. Squeeze your gluteus and abdominals for a few seconds, release them, relax and repeat the action again. You can decide how hard you want to work.

Yoga and mental well-being at the office

Yes, it is possible if and when you maintain some discipline. It might seem an exaggeration, but working at a desk for long hours can cause not only injuries resulting from inflammations or bruises and illnesses which result from being seated, but frustration and problems with your mental health too. This is when yoga becomes your best ally. Close your eyes, joining the palms of your hands together and place them in front of your chest (or on the tops of your knees), creating space between your head and your shoulders as you do so. Breathe in and out as deeply as you can. Concentrate for a few moments on your breathing and don’t think about anything else! This will help you to gain perspective and stay in a good mood for the rest of the day.

Leg, back and neck stretches

Make use of dead time waiting for your computer to complete various tasks and move away from the screen. Complete a few stretches, but make sure that you always look after your joints. If you try to reach the floor with your hands, make sure that the backs of your knees are straight. Stand upright and breathe in. As you breathe out, roll down. Pointing your crown towards the floor allows you to better stretch out your upper and lower back. When your breaks are longer, try to get a colleague to join in with you. This will help to create stronger friendships at work and make the whole environment a lot more amenable!

Be the office tree!

Take a break. Stand up and strike up the asana position (a yoga position) called “The Mountain”. The positions can be performed with feet together or, at a slightly higher level of difficulty, by lifting up your left leg and placing the sole of your left foot against your right thigh, ensuring that your right leg remains completely straight and firm. Place the palms of your hands together and raise them up to the ceiling. Focus on a fixed point on the wall. If you can maintain your balance with your eyes closed, go for it! Don’t forget to breathe and pay attention to your breathing.

Triumph at the office: a comfortable body and a free mind

By dedicating more time to your body, even the place where you work will go through a transformation and you will work better. A healthy mind is the result of a healthy body. Therefore, remember that the most important exercise to complete while you work at your desk is to remain alert. Remember to move your joints and the parts of your body holding onto tension. This will help you to feel freer and as though you have more energy at work. Free yourself from the prejudice that people who work long hours in an office can’t be in good shape!

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About the Author

Tracey Chandler specializes in travel articles and features for female-interest publications online. She reviews Latin American cinema, creates press releases for an online marketing company and manages her own blog "The Jolly English Pirate." She holds a B.A. in performing arts at Middlesex University.