staying fit at your desk

Move More Month: Staying Fit at Your Desk!

The American Heart Association recommends that healthy adults participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. However, it’s a fact that the hectic modern lifestyle seldom allows one to get anywhere near those figures. You have deadlines to meet at work and on the personal front and naturally you are always running against time. So what do you do? Today, we’ll let you in on some secrets: easy, simple ways you can exercise even with your busy schedule. Read on!

Sit Properly

You read it right – wrong posture at work leads to countless health problems like chronic back pain, stiff neck, and so on. Most people tend to slouch and lean forward with heads craning; your head is heavy, and when it’s not aligned with your spine, it becomes even heavier, and it compresses nerves, giving you headaches. Chronic misalignment leads to fatigues and body aches, and can even cause sciatica, asthma, compressed discs, and arthritis.

Ensure your chair is at the right height, and you can keep your feet flat on the floor; your knees and hips should be at 90 degrees. Your lower back needs to be pressed against the chair – this helps maintain posture. The monitor height should also be adjusted so that you don’t have to lean or strain.

Stretching at Your Desk

1. Neck

While sitting upright, bend your neck so that your right ear is as close to your right shoulder as possible – hold this for a few seconds, and then repeat for the left side. Do this about 4-5 times.

2. Arms

Interlace fingers of both hands and reach upwards as high as possible. Your palms should face the ceiling. Hold the pose for about 10 seconds, and repeat a few times.

3. Look Around

Turn your head to the left and try to look over your shoulder for a few seconds; repeat for the right side as well.

4. Bobblehead

Place your chin down on your chest and slowly roll your head from side to side about 10 times.

5. Shrugs

Anyone who works in an office knows to shrug! Just raise your shoulders to ear height, hold for a few seconds, and drop; repeat 4-5 times.

6. Chest

Put your hands behind your back with palms pressed together, sit upright and remain so for 5–10 seconds.

7. Seated Toy Soldier

Sit upright with your right arm stretched as high as possible and stretch out your left leg. Raise it up as high as possible and lower your right arm. Try to touch your left foot and repeat this for 10 times.

8. Knees

Bend your right knee and lift the leg up; hold it with your arms and pull it as near your chest as possible. Maintain the pose for about 10 seconds and repeat on the left side. Do this 4-5 times.

9. Reaching and Bending

Stretch your right arm over your head as far as possible then slowly bend it, trying to touch the shoulder. Keep it there for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.

10. Knee Press

Keep your right ankle on the left knee, press your right knee a couple of times – repeat on the opposite side.

Exercising at Your Desk

Stretching is good for prepping your muscles for exercise and after workouts. Now, let’s take a look at exercises you can do at your desk:

1. Standing walk/jog

Stand up and walk or jog in that position for about 45 seconds; take a pause and repeat it for about 5 times. To up the intensity, raise your knees up to your waist.

2. Push-Ups

It doesn’t have to be on the floor – use a concrete wall (not cubicle); do 10 repetitions thrice.

3. Squats

Stand up from your chair, sit back down; do this 10 times – easy as pie!

4. Tricep Dips

This can be done on your chair or desk. Place your hands on your desk at shoulder width. Extend your legs in front of you and slowly raise your butt; bend your elbows slightly to keep the tension on your triceps.

5. Pretend to Jump Rope

Doesn’t need much explanation! Either do this with both the feet, or alternate your foot– you can also mimic arm movements to make it more intense.

6. Calf Raises

Stand behind the chair and hold it for support. Raising your heels, stand on tip-toes for a few seconds, and slowly lower your heels to rest on the floor. Repeat thrice.

7. Shoulder Press

Take something heavy that you can find in your office like an unopened bundle of printing paper, and hold it close to your shoulder. Raise it as high over your head as you can – do 10 repetitions thrice for each side.

8. Wall Squat

Stand with your back pressed against a wall, and slowly lower yourself to a sitting position, holding the pose for 10-20 seconds; repeat 4-5 times.

9. Lunges

Stretch one leg in front of the other and slowly lower the knee of the leg that’s behind, towards the ground (like going down on one knee) – repeat 10 times for each leg.

Exercise Everywhere

You can exercise even beyond your office. Here’s how:

1. Park farther away

Park your car at the spot farthest away from the elevator or stairs, and add a few extra steps to your day.

2. Climb

Say goodbye to the elevator or escalator, and walk up the stairs instead. If your office is on the 10th floor, take the elevator for 5 or 6 floors and climb up the rest of the way.

3. Do it yourself

Instead of asking a colleague or assistant, get up and get your own coffee, or water or sandwich – or photocopies.

4. Stand Occasionally

Do you spend a lot of time on the phone? Stand and stretch while you talk instead of remaining seated.

5. Take a walk

Leave aside 10-15 minutes every day to walk outdoors; you’ll also get some fresh air.

6. Talk instead of IM

Rather than sending messages over the office messenger, go over to your coworker or subordinate and deliver the message in person.

7. Change your Stops during the commute

If you take public transport to work, get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way, or cycle all the way.

Whenever you’re waiting – say at an airport for your flight, or waiting to meet someone, you can walk about or pace up and down – it’s something you can do anywhere you are.

Still not sure about the exercises you can do? We can help you! AT EPIC Primary Care, our in-house exercise physiologist will create a customized exercise regimen that you can follow at work, home, or gym – depending on your lifestyle, your current health status, your future health goals, and your ability to work out (also preference). Schedule an appointment for a consultation with our exercise physiologist, or simply walk into one of our centers.

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