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We don’t realize how bad it is to be sitting on a desk all day without stretching out our joints, and that is a little worrying. That’s why plenty of ergonomic professionals recommend one thing: constant exercise, even at your office desk.
Yes, you don’t have to be at the gym to get significant exercise in, especially if you’re a desk worker. In that sense, a little stretching and exercising is so much better than nothing. Thankfully, exercising at your desk is so common that there are plenty of routines up and ready that you can do in order to maximize your working hours.
What is Deskcercise?
Desk-cercise is simply the combination of the two words: desk and exercise. A deskcercise routine refers to a set of exercises that you can perform without ever leaving the vicinity of your workstation, allowing you to stay focused on your job while also getting some important movement in to keep your body in good health. Some of these exercises you can do sitting in your office chair, such as bicep curls and leg lifts, while others only need you to use your desk as support.
It’s vital to adopt healthy habits especially if one spends too much time in the same seated position. Physical activity has plenty of benefits to desk workers; it’s a great way to lose weight, shake out stiffness in the joints, reduce the chances of a sedentary lifestyle and even prevent cardiovascular disease and other serious health complications in the long run. It’s perfect for maintaining mental health as well as physical health, and it should be part of your job.
You can even incorporate it in different parts of the day and in plenty of ways, such as going for a quick walk when you’re grabbing lunch. Walking to and from your office is an excellent way to clear one’s head, improve mobility, and reduce the risk of complicated health problems.
Another wonderful thing about this workplace workout is anyone, no matter their fitness levels and fitness needs, can get something out of it. If you don’t know where to begin your desk exercising journey, this is the perfect place to start.
Deskcercises You Can Do at Work
These workouts are ideal for your lunch break, during your free time, or whenever you have nothing to do other than sit on your chair and stretch. Without further ado, here are some deskcercises you can do and how they can improve your overall health.
What Are Good Back Stretches?
Stretches are vital in maintaining one’s muscle health. This is especially the case when you’re forced to sit on a chair for your desk job most hours in the week. Stretching exercises come in all forms and for different muscle groups depending on your body and health needs.
This guide will focus on both upper body as well as lower body stretches so you can get the most out of your workout. First, let’s list a few back stretches to keep your spine in optimal health.
The neck is often an easy target when it comes to incurring upper body pain while seated. Whenever you feel those aches and pains about to settle in, try this simple exercise: with your back straight and your chest open, simply lower your head. Place your hands behind your head for added weight. You should feel a significant stretch in your neck. Hold it for 10-30 seconds. You may do the stretch side to side as well.
The chest stretch not only opens up your front but also helps relieve tension and stiffness in your shoulder blades, neck muscles, upper back. All you have to do is take your arms straight out behind you. If possible, lace your fingers together in order to deepen the stretch. Keep your head and your back straight as you push each arm back further. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.
For an assisted stretch, try to place each arm on the nearest wall and push into it or lean forward until you feel a stretch in your chest. Alternate between your left arm and your right arm, holding the pose for 10 seconds before you switch to the other side.
Upper Body Stretch
Prolonged sitting can actually be damaging to our upper body, especially when we start slouching. This upper back exercise can stretch out muscles in your left shoulder, right shoulder, as well as the muscles between your shoulder blades. You can do this standing or sitting.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor. Press the palms of your right hand and left hand together as you extend both arms out in front of you. Gently press forward and lean your head forward as if someone else is trying to pull you forward. Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds, then go back to starting position and repeat.
Feeling a little stiff and tired during a meeting? This exercise is a simple yet effective stretch that you can do sitting, standing, and no matter where you are. All you have to do is bring your shoulders up to your ear as if doing a really exaggerated shrug. Then, roll your shoulders back into place. Repeat the movement 10 times. Then, repeat the same motion, this time rolling your shoulders forward.
If the aches in your back are starting to settle in, try to crack them using a seated twist. Simply place your left hand on the opposite side of the chair and twist your upper body in the same direction while keeping your hips and knees faced forward. Do the same for the other side. This exercise is super helpful and convenient because you can do it seated in your chair.
What Are Examples Of Muscular Strength Exercises?
If you think strength exercises can’t be done working a desk job, think again. There are tons of exercises you can perform during downtimes and your office equipment might actually help. Here are some great examples.
Position your table in front of you and make sure it’s as secure as possible. Plant your fingers on the desk while moving each foot backward to assume the starting push-up position. Keep your entire body from your neck down to your knees as straight as possible as you bend your arms and lower your torso onto the desk with the help of each upper arm. Do 10-15 reps.
Alternatively, you can do this same exercise standing. Find the nearest wall as your support and angle yourself to push-up position. Keep your arms and core engaged as you press your body forward onto the wall and pull yourself back up. Do 10-15 reps.
While you’re at it, why not try a few wall sits? This is another awesome exercise that looks simple, but actually works a ton of muscles while you’re doing it. Ditch the chair and instead look for a wall to “sit” on.
Lean your back against the wall and bend your knees until your legs are at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Keep your feet flat and your focus intact, palms facing the wall. Without anything to rest on, your legs and your glute muscles should be doing the work for you. Do expect your legs to be sore afterwards, but as they say, “no pain, no gain.”
Keep your heart rate up with this next exercise. Grab your chair and widen your stance so each foot is a little farther than shoulder-width apart. You can clasp your hands together, place them behind your head, or hold your arms out in front of you as you bend your knees. Place your weight on the middle part of your feet and engage your glute muscles as you go down. Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes.
Do 10-15 repetitions. This also serves as a stretch to undo the tension in your legs from sitting for long periods at a time.
Our last exercise is perfect to remove all the knots in your leg muscles that can become tight because they’re constantly bent. To do this, place one foot out in front of you and slowly lower your body until the back leg is extended and one knee is supporting the 90-degree angle of your front leg.
To get the most out of this stretch, try placing an elbow on the floor. If you’re lunging with your left foot behind you, lower your left arm until you’re resting on your elbows. You can also do the same with your right elbow and right leg. Such placement may be hard for beginners, so don’t attempt anything if you don’t feel comfortable or if you feel a sharp pain.
If there’s one thing to take away from this, it’s that it is never too late to start your fitness journey no matter what your current lifestyle is. If you can’t seem to find the time to incorporate a workout routine into your busy schedule, this is the best way to start.
Ready to venture into other exercise routines? We’ve got you covered! Check out our different desk exercises right here.