Stand up frequently – you may ask that is it an exercise? Yes, it is one of the simplest exercises that you can often do without getting unnecessary attention. Many adverse effects of prolonged sitting can be managed merely by standing a few times in an hour. One can use this time to discuss things with colleagues, and so on.
In this light, you can encourage your employer to turn midday exercising into an office-wide habit. For instance, having a daily group exercise session at 11 a.m. so everyone can do a 15-minute workout or light stretch can not only make everyone healthier, it can also serve as a team-building opportunity.
One of the most simple and discrete exercises you can do from your desk is controlling your breathing to bring down your heart rate. The breathing exercise I use every morning, night, and any time I feel stress levels rising is the 4-7-8.
With your feet placed flat against the floor, breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and breathe out forcefully (with tongue pressed against the ridge behind your front two teeth) for a count of eight.
It sounds easy, and it is, but it may also require some practice to get it down right and for it to become a useful tool. When used properly, it can lower your heart rate (helping you control your mood) and put you in a more relaxed state. In a high stress situation, controlled breathing can help you gain a level mindset and get more done. It can also be used as a way to ward off food cravings, says Dr. Andew Weil.
These exercises are extremely simple and may some of them may seem silly or pointless, but the idea is to keep your body in motion, raise and lower your heart rate, and keep you from withering away behind your computer. If you can remind yourself you’ve been sitting for too long, any sort of movement is better than being sedentary, even if it warrants some strange looks from those sharing the office with you.
With an increasing focus on health and fitness, most of us find ourselves trying to pinpoint the reasons for our lack of fitness. Most of us blame it on our jobs, long study hours, or other stressful and time-consuming scenarios. While we understand that it may be tough to make an hour each day to exercise, it is definitely possible to squeeze in quick intervals of 5-15 minute desk exercises that can be done without straying from your work.
What are Desk Exercises?
Desk Exercises in this context refers to those exercises that you can practice while seated on your work desk itself. As unusual as the idea may seem, it is extremely common in Western Countries like Europe, Canada, the USA, etc. where people go to the extent of installing workout equipment at their desks or cycling to work!
Why bother with Desk Exercises?
While all of us dream of staying fit and healthy, hardly any of us find ourselves making the efforts required to remain so. When confronted about this situation, we blame it on the long work hours. This excuse gives us temporary satisfaction with our choices but when body pains and obesity begin to settle in, we find ourselves indulging in crazy diets, extremely high-intensity workouts, and unsustainable habits!
Instead of indulging in these drastic measures, it’s better and easier to work on achieving your health goals every day, bit by bit. Desk Exercises are a great alternative here because:
- They hardly require 5-15 mins of your time at each interval
- They can be done at your desk without attracting too much attention
- They can be done at any time during the day and in as many intervals as you would like
- They can help prevent body aches
- Engaging in desk exercises helps you feel refreshed in between long work hours, etc.
How do I perform these exercises?
While there are several desk exercises you can choose to perform, we’ve come up with a list of some easy and quick ones to get you started. If you’re looking for something specific or a visual guide, you can easily find examples on Google or YouTube.
These exercises include:
- Legs: While seated in your chair, raise one foot off the floor, straighten it out, and hold still for a minute before gently placing it back on the ground. Repeat with your other foot. Do this 10-15 times.
- Chest & Shoulders: While seated in your chair, place both hands on the chair’s armrest and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Hold for a minute. Repeat 10-15 times.
- Hands: Stand up on your desk and stretch your arms backward, forwards, and sideways till you can feel the stretch. Do this 4-5 times.
- Wrists: Every 25-30 minutes, take a break from working and rotate your wrists to give them a break.
- Posture: Practicing good posture while seated can have great health benefits and reduce the probability and impact of chronic pain.
Now that you know how easy it is to stay fit, why not make it a part of your everyday life? You’ll be back to your desired body image sooner than you can think, you’ll feel healthier than you would expect and you won’t feel a time-pinch while doing it!
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