When you’re working in an office all day, it can be hard to get the exercise you need. Sometimes, this lack of movement can lead to negative effects on the neck, back, legs, eyes and even arms. Research indicates that periodic workplace stretching may reduce pain by up to 72 percent.
We’ve pulled together some stretches “deskercises” you can do sneakily at your desk or in your office, even in a coworking space.
Start With Your Neck
When you’re looking at a computer screen all day, your neck can tighten up and begin to hurt behind the ears and also give you horrible migraines. Sit up straight and tilt your head to each side, feeling the pull as you tilt it. Infinite neck stretches are also great for restoring range of motion in the neck – just move your head in a figure-of-eight for 20 seconds and then do it again in reverse.
Work Your Shoulders
If you can feel your shoulders tightening up, roll them alternatively in a clockwise and anti-clockwise motion. This will help to loosen the muscles. If you have knots in your shoulder, get a tennis ball and put it on the knot against a wall and work with the muscle fiber direction (this is usually pretty easy to tell). This can help to release a lot of workplace tension.
Stretch Your Back
Sitting down all day can have some seriously negative effects on your spinal health, and so you must counteract the sitting with some stretching. Starting with your back straight; twist the upper half of your body to one side and hold for ten seconds, then repeat on the other side.
Elongate Those Legs
Okay, these exercises don’t make your legs longer but they do make them feel better after sitting all day! Stretch your leg out and rest your heel on the floor. Pull your toes up towards your body until you can feel the stretch in your legs and hold for 10-15 seconds. You can even do this with raised legs.
Another easy one, stretch your legs out in front of you whilst sitting at your desk and try to touch your toes. Hold for 15-30 seconds.
Release Your Wrists And Ankles
Carpal Tunnel and other repetitive strain injuries are seen often in the work place, but you can do things to make it less likely to happen to you. Much like the infinite neck stretches; you can do the same with your ankles and your wrists. Just move them in a figure of eight motion. This can stop them from seizing up. Consider investing in a hand grip strengthener too and just leaving it on your desk to use whenever you have a free hand.
Shoulders & Arms
Tricep dips can be slightly obvious when you’re doing it, but the benefits far outweigh the risk of odd looks from coworkers. Using a solid desk or counter, grip it with both hands behind you with feet on the floor a step or two away. Next, straighten your arms so your body lifts, and then bend your arms again whilst lowering the body – do not exceed a 90-degree angle in your arms.
Got a lot of paperwork on your desk? Pick it up and do some bicep curls. Sit with your feet on the ground, back straight and make sure there is nothing in your way. Have your pals facing forward (whilst holding whatever you wish to curl) and slowly raise it until it’s shoulder height. Make sure to keep the rest of your body still. 10-12 reps recommended.
Wall pushups are also a great way to arms and shoulders. Stand around a foot or two from the wall; place your palms flat on it. Put your weight onto your hands and slowly bend your elbows. Hold it for two seconds and then lift yourself back up. Repeat for 10-15 reps. You can also do this with one arm at a time sideways.
To strengthen your core, make use of your wheelie chair and start using it to your body’s benefit. Place your feet flat on the ground and grab the edge of the desk with your hands. Move yourself further outwards, and begin to twist your lower half left and right – engaging your abs more than your arms.
Seated leg raises are the easiest exercises to perform at your desk. Simply raise your leg and then move it up and down in quick pulses for 15-20 reps. For extra toning, hold for 20 seconds at the end.
Fancy riding a bike but don’t have the time? Scoot to the edge of your seat an grip the arms, then raise your legs and move them as if riding a bike. Whilst doing this, you can take in the beautiful scenery that is your office!
Whilst sitting, have your feet at shoulder width apart and hover above your seat for 15-30 seconds. Keep yourself in the seated position with your back straight to reap the benefits on both your legs and abs.
Is the stress of clients getting to you today? Find a private room and do some shadow boxing for 5 minutes. Not only is it a great full boy workout, it can help eliminate stress. Boxing not your thing? Put some up-beat music on your headphones and have a silent rave for 5 minutes.
Greatist have some fantastic deskercises on their website, go check ‘em out. Our favourite is:
“21. Whether you’ve got a thing for the 1920s or enjoy mimicking penguins, this move is for you. Standing with arms by your sides and palms facing behind, pulse the arms backward for 5 seconds. Release and repeat for 12-15 reps. For best results, make sure to keep the arms long and straight!”
But then again, this would be our favourite for people in the office to do. We all need a giggle every now and then.
By doing the exercises above, you can eliminate low back and leg pain and also be more productive at work. However, if you have bad posture there is no exercise that will cure the pain that it is causing. What’s your favourite deskercise?