The Desk Alert: Simple Yet Effective Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk
Worried that your desk job is doing no good to your health? Then this is your read…Research states that sitting in one place for long can increase your risk for fatal diseases like diabetes, cholesterol and many more. Your lifestyle is more important than you think for a healthy and long life; for which not only your diet but exercise also plays a major role. However, our extremely busy lives give us little time to hit the gym or go for a walk in the park.
One of the best ways to combat this is working out at your desk itself. Little bursts of work out while you’re sitting in your chair can make a whole lot of difference in your overall health and well-being. Having said that, nobody wants to do push-ups awkwardly in the bay. Therefore, just little but effective movements will do the trick, helping you check desk exercises at work off your to-do list.
Here is a list of simple exercises for office workouts that will increase flexibility and strengthen your muscles:
Upper Body Exercises:
- Triceps Dips
Scoot to the front of your chair. Place your palms on either side of you for support, bend your elbows and lower yourself up to several inches. Keep your back as close to the chair as possible. Then rise again and straighten your arms. 20 triceps dips are recommended each day. Start with 5 or 10, as per your comfort.
Quick tip: Use a stationary chair instead of a wheeled chair, preferably.
Focus area: Triceps, chest, shoulders and back
2. Arm Circles
Sit straight in your chair with arms extended to the sides. Now, move your arms in small circles, clockwise and anti-clockwise. Repeat 20 times in each direction. Make sure you keep your arms in line with your shoulders. Arm circles flexes your shoulder joints, works on arm muscles and increases circulation to your arms and fingers.
Quick tip: Keep your back and neck straight for effective results.
Focus area: Shoulders, arms, upper back
2. Neck Rolls
Roll your neck clockwise and anti-clockwise while sitting straight in your chair. Repeat 30 times in each direction. Sitting at your desk for long hours can tighten your neck and cervical spine muscles which can eventually cause pain. Neck rolls are the most effective exercise at office to strengthen your neck and cervical muscles, while relieving pain. This will also help you sleep better, which in turns helps lower stress levels, keeping you healthier.
Quick tip: Keep neck muscles as relaxed as possible.
Focus area: Neck, cervical spine
4. Shoulder Blade Pencil Pinches
This one takes the cake for instant posture improvement and tops the list of the best exercises while sitting at desk. Since our body is an interconnected system, one thing can lead to another. A poor posture can lead to a hunched upper back, bringing the shoulder blades forward. Shoulder blade pencil pinches can help counteract this condition. Sit up tall and pinch shoulder blades together as shown in the picture. Think of squeezing a pencil in between those blades. Now relax and repeat 30 times. This posture corrective exercise promotes an upright body and decreases the stress in the neck and back muscles, also relieving any pain in them.
Quick tip: Concentrate on sitting tall and straight, while you’re at it.
Focus area: Back, neck, shoulders
Lower Body Exercises
- Chair Squats
When it comes to lower body desk exercises at work, chair squats score above all. You can squeeze in these squats between meetings and calls. Rise from your chair and lower your body back down. Stop right before you sit down in your chair, or come back up as soon as you touch the seat of your chair just a bit. Stand up and repeat 20 times. Start with 5-10 and then increase your count as per your convenience. Working on all of your lower body, these are building blocks for your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.
Quick tip: Try keeping your weight on the heels so you can work your glutes.
Focus area: Calves, glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps
- Standing Pulses
The easiest of the lot – do it whenever you please. Stand near your desk, holding its edge for support. Bend one leg behind you and keep your toes pointing towards the floor. Raise your heel a few inches off the floor and lock it in that position. Now, release it just a bit and press your foot behind you. Think off leaning against the wall with one leg raised behind you for support. Repeat this 20-30 times with each leg.
Quick Tip: Do not use ankle weights. They resist the sculpting and toning of the lower body, sometimes inflicting pain.
Focus area: Quadriceps and hamstrings.
3. Calf Raises
Stand on your toes, while holding the back of your chair for support. Lower your heels back to the floor, slowly. Repeat 20-30 times. Strong calf muscles lead to better balance and agility while jumping. They also help reduce the risk of knee and ankle injuries.
Quick tip: Keep your upper body straight.
Focus areas: Gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the lower leg.
- Seated Bicycle Crunches
Sit in your chair, engage your core and position your hands behind your head. Now lift one knee up, bringing it towards the opposite elbow by twisting your body. Come back to the straight position and repeat again. Do 30-50 twists on each side. Start with 10. These kinds of crunches help burn that stubborn belly fat and reduce weight. Crunches are extremely beneficial for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. If hitting the gym is not your thing, then bicycle crunches are sure to help you out.
Quick tip: Keep one-foot flat on the floor, while you raise the other knee.
Focus area: Abs, obliques and core
2. Oblique Twists
Now, here comes the fun part. All you have to do is sit upright in a swivel chair, let your feet hover above the floor, hold on to your desk, engage your core and twirl in your chair from one side to the other. And there you go, happily twirling in your chair. You can bust in these twists in your coffee breaks or even while you’re reading mails. These easy-to-do twists compresses the abdominal activity by pulling the chest downward.
Quick tip: Keep good balance by holding tight to make sure you don’t trip off the chair. A stationary chair is not recommended for oblique twists.
Focus area: Core, internal and external obliques
- Lower Ab Leg Lifts
Another subtle one for you. Sit straight in your chair. Place your feet flat on the floor. Now, lift one leg up and keep your core tight. Slowly, you can lift both legs up. The lower ab leg lifts are excellent ways to engage your core. They also strengthen and increase the flexibility of hips and lower back. Since the abdominal muscles are used to stabilize the body, their strength increases significantly.
Quick tip: Lift both legs only when you can maintain balance with one leg lifted.
Focus area: Lower back, lower abs, hips, obliques and core
This effective full body workout is easy to incorporate in your everyday work routine. A short workout regime with long-lasting results is your way to a healthy and happy life.