You may have heard the phrase ‘Sitting is the new smoking.’ The average worker spends at least three hours per day sitting at their desk, which can lead to health problems like an increased risk of being overweight, chronic neck and shoulder pain, and chronic venous disease. With health risks like these, more and more people are becoming aware of how dangerous a sedentary lifestyle can be. But if you’re stuck working at a desk for hours at a time, chances are you don’t have much of a choice.
Fortunately, a little desk exercise can go a long way in helping combat the negative effects of sitting for too long. Setting aside a few minutes every hour to stretch and exercise can help you relax, increase alertness, reduce stress and anxiety, increase flexibility, and reduce your risk of becoming overweight. Next time you have a free five minutes, try some of these desk exercises to get moving.
The shoulder shrug – Raise both shoulders up towards your ears. Hold them there for five seconds and then relax. Repeat for 15 reps.
The fist pump – This one might make you look a little out of place, but give it a go. Using alternating arms, fist punch the air for at least 60 seconds. Continue for as long as you’d like.
The desk squat – Begin by standing with your feet together and your desk chair pushed back. Bend your knees slightly so that your thighs are almost parallel to the ground. As you bend, raise your arms straight up towards the computer screen, keeping your knees aligned and together. Hold this pose for 15 seconds and release. Repeat four to six times.
The seated leg raise – While you are seated, straighten one of both of your legs and hold them in place for five or more seconds. Lower your legs back to the ground without letting your feet touch the floor. Repeat 10 times.
Knee raises – While you are seated, keep your knees bent and lift your feet off the ground as high as you can. Slowly lower them back to the ground. Repeat 10 times.
Head tilt – Sit all the way back in your chair, and slowly push your right ear towards your right shoulder. Hold for five seconds. Repeat on the left side. Repeat three times on each side.
Chest stretch – Standing by your chair, clasp your hands behind your back with your elbows facing inward. Raise your arms toward the ceiling, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat three times.
Quad stretch – Using your chair or desk for support, hold the top of your left foot with your hand and pull gently towards your buttocks. Hold for 15 seconds. Reverse legs and repeat.
Torso twist – Hold one side of your chair and twist your body towards your arms, glancing over your shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Repeat three times on each side.
Back stretch – Sitting all the way back in your chair, lean forward placing your chest on your thighs and your hands in front of your feet. Put your head between your knees and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat several times.