As the old saying goes: Time flies when you’re sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen. Well, maybe, not. But when many of us desk dwellers get busy, we unintentionally stay glued to our office chairs for long stretches of time, degrading our posture and slowing our circulation. I put together a list of office exercise tips for you to help keep you physically active and healthy.
Standing burns more calories than sitting, so get up whenever you have a chance. Instead of instant messaging, walk over to your colleague’s desk to deliver the message. You can also stand while talking on the phone to burn extra calories.
Take the Stairs
If you have a meeting on a different floor, or are heading to the cafeteria, add a little cardio to your day by taking the stairs.
If you need a break, take a brisk walk instead of sitting and grabbing a snack.
When working at your computer, rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking out window or staring at a distant object for 10 seconds.
For a quick break, try stretching. Interlace your fingers, turn your palms outwards, and straighten your arms in front. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat several times. Rotate your wrists clockwise for 30 seconds, then rotate them counter-clockwise.
Stretch Your Neck
Keep your neck loose by doing a few simple moves. Pull your chin toward your chest until you feel a stretch along the back of your neck, or slowly bring your shoulders up toward your ears. Turn your head slowly to the left and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat this on the other side and do several times.
Relax Your Shoulders
To release tension in your shoulders, try these exercises: (1) Circle your shoulders forward several times, then backwards. Repeat three to five times. (2) Stretch your arm above your head, cradle your elbow with your hand and pull your elbow behind your head. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat. (3) Sit with your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades back and together. Hold for a count of five, release, and repeat for five repetitions. This is an excellent office exercise to encourage deep breathing, and make your upper back resilient and flexible.
Using Water Wisely
Fill a water bottle to capacity. Sit up straight, and curl the water bottle like you would a hand weight. Repeat on the other side.
Sit up straight in a chair, and tuck your abs in. Slowly extend one leg upwards until it is level at your hips. Hold for three to five seconds, and lower. Repeat for a series of five on each leg.
Hit the Pavement
Make lunchtime exercise social by organizing a lunchtime walking group. Not only will walking in a group make exercising more fun, it will also encourage you to make this a regular activity during the week.
Change your Commute
If you live in close proximity to the office, ditch your car and walk or bike to work. Not only will you save money on gas, you will also get in some exercise time. If you drive to work, park at the far end of the parking lot.
Staying in motion throughout the day — even if you work at a desk — will not only help you burn more calories, it will also help sustain your energy level for the duration of the work day and well after five o’clock. Whether you take the stairs or covertly do leg lifts under your desk during a conference call, the most important thing is to keep moving.
You can print out a list of my favorite office exercise tips, and keep it at your desk as a handy reminder to keep moving. Click here to download the PDF.