As you adjust to your new, Work From Home (WFH) normal, you’ve probably noticed that you’re spending a lot more time on your tush than before. No more regular get-ups to dash to the printer, grab a cuppa, or converse with a colleague.
While that is great for productivity, it wreaks havoc on your lower back, hips and hamstrings. Humans were not meant to sit behind a desk for hours. Our bodies crave movement not only to stay in shape but to relieve stress.
Here are a few easy-peasy desk exercise hacks. Sneak them in between emails and projects throughout the day, and you will physically feel your body thanking you!
Easy-Peasy Exercises That You Can Do At Your Desk
First, Fix Your Posture
The correct posture alone is enough to reduce pain and increase core muscle strength drastically. It’s best first to form a good posture habit to get the maximum benefit from all of the other deskercises.
Stretch Regularly With Desk Yoga
- Sit as tall as possible and tilt your head from side to side—as though you are trying to make your ear touch your shoulder. Stop before discomfort or pain. Repeat the motion five times on each side. It’s ok if you have limited range of motion in the beginning; you’ll see an improvement in just a few days.
- Stretch your arms out infront you and interlace your fingers with palms facing out. Then, raise your hands above your head (trying to touch the ceiling). Hold for 30 seconds.
- Raise your shoulder as high as possible to your ears, hold for a few seconds, release. Repeat approximately five times.
- Stretch your right arm across your chest and hold your elbow with your left hand, trying to pull your arm even closer to your body.
- Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat with your left arm.
- Wheel your chair back and stretch your legs out (straight) parallel to the ground. Stretch your arms forward trying to touch your ankles. Hold for 5 seconds at a time, repeat three times.
- Sit straight up and turn the upper half of your body as far as possible to the left and right. Only twist your torso; your hips should no move.
- Extend one arm over your head and gently bend over. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds a side.
Legs and Glutes
- Straighten one leg under the desk and hold for 10 seconds, then do the other leg and repeat 15 times.
- Lift your legs together and hold a few centimetres off the ground for as long as you can. Keep your core tight (imagine pulling your belly button to your spine) the whole time.
- Squeeze your glutes, hold for 30 seconds and repeat.
- Stand up and do high knee marches. You will march on the spot, keeping your core tight and bring one knee up to hip height at a time. Try to do 20 repetitions to start and build up as your strength increases.
- Chair squats. Move your butt to the edge of your seat, keep your feet flat on the floor with your knees at a 90degree angle. Go from that position to standing (push your heels to the ground to get a lift) and back down, as your butt touches the seat stand up again. Try to start with ten reps.
- Do calf raises at your desk and any opportunity when you’re standing.
- Do dips using your desk or a chair without wheels. Place your butt on the edge of the desk or chair, put your hands on either side of your hips, fingers curled over the edge. Stretch your legs out in front of you, resting on your heels. Use your core and arms to raise your body up off the chair and then down so that your rear goes down toward the floor.
- Invisible boxing brings some cardio to the mix (and releases a lot of tension). Lift your fists in from of your face—as boxers do—and do fast jabs at an invisible punching bag in front of you, alternating left and right arms.
- Grab two water bottles or anything weighty that you can hold in your hand. Do a few sets of bicep curls followed by lateral raises.
- Press your palms together and push till you feel your muscles contract. Hold for ten seconds, repeat ten times.
- Squeeze your scapulae together as if you were trying to pinch a pencil between them. You’ll feel your chest open up immediately and release tension in your shoulders. Hold for five-ten seconds, repeat five times.
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