At work, we often spend long periods of time sitting in the same position. While we may not realize it, being inactive for prolonged periods of time can hurt our health. Sitting down causes our hips to tighten, not to mention the strain it puts on our back, neck, and wrists while typing away for hours. What’s more, it can be extremely difficult to maintain perfect posture for hours on end while we’re sitting. As a result, we may experience lower back pain and poor musculoskeletal health.
Why You Need to Stretch at Your Desk
- Exercise is an integral part of working – A good employee means that they are well-rounded in all aspects of life. They are content in their personal lives as well as career, which is why employers are looking to incorporate workout programs into their wellbeing package. Take short breaks frequently also help you to return to your desk refreshed and ready to work.
- It relieves stress – Stress is one of the largest causes of unplanned absences in the workplace. Along with many other benefits, regular exercise can significantly reduce stress levels. When there are looming deadlines and work is piling up, exercising is a great way to relieve pent up tension.
- It fights a modern epidemic – Sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to our health, and more than six hours of sitting down can greatly increase the risk of early death. To help prevent health issues, simple desk exercises are a great and viable solution to keep health in check.
To help you stay active at work, take a look at these simple exercises you can do from the comfort of your own desk.
Stretching is a great way to relieve muscle tightness following long periods of inactivity. These stretches are effective at encouraging good posture and combatting the effects of sitting down:
- Hamstring stretch – Sitting, plant both feet firmly on the floor. Raise one leg up and straight out in front of you, flexing the toes to stretch the hamstring. Hold for 15 seconds and then slowly let your foot meet the floor again. Repeat on next leg.
- Standing back stretch – Stand with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with arms straight out in front and palms facing together. Keep your back neutral, bow your head, and bend at the hip and push your chest towards the floor. Hold for 20 seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat three to five times.
- Neck rolls – Gently rotate your head from side to side, then drop it forward to all the chin to meet the chest. Continue making large circles with the neck, moving gently and slowly.
Perform 12 repetitions of each exercise one to three times depending on how much time you have available.
- Squat – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your chest up and your back straight, bend at your knees and hips, moving into a seated-like position. Keep your thighs parallel to the ground. Gently rise up to the starting position and repeat.
- Shoulder complex – Adjust your work chair so that your feet are firmly flat on the floor and that the arm rests are lowered to the lowest possible position. Sit up tall in your chair with a straight spine, keeping your back away from the rest. With straight arms, raise them to your sides to meet shoulder height. Bring them to the front and keep them straight out. Raise both arms to a vertical position above your head. Pause, then reverse the movement and repeat.
Combat inactivity during the workday with this list of desk-based exercises. We hope that they help you improve your day by getting you moving.