According to the World Health Organization “Approximately 3.2 million deaths each year are attributable to insufficient physical activity”. While this might sound slightly dramatic when talking about office-based activity, it is difficult to ignore the direct impact office jobs and our modern lives have on our lack of movement and fitness levels. A lot of time is spent indoors, in a car and generally; sat down.
A BBC article also states that office workers are ‘too sedentary’ which is leading to a whole host of health implications such as weight gaIn, heart disease and joint problems – most of which can easily be improved and avoided by doing some simple stretches and office exercises at your desk.
Benefits of Office Exercises
Sharpens memory and focus
Helps you learn faster
Prevents health risks
A review in stretching programs in workplaces found that stretching improved a range of motion, posture and provided stress relief. As well as exercise in the office relieving mental and physical stress, it is also believed to reduce pain by up to 72 percent and of course will help you to burn a few extra calories. Many office workers can suffer from back pain due to not having the correct posture or just for simply sitting in your desk chair for too long.
Here are 6 office exercises and stretches for you and your co-workers to squeeze into your day in order to increase your daily physical activity. Grab your water bottle and give these a go!
If you find that you’re time-limited and constantly tied to your desk chair or are wondering what desk exercises you can do while sitting, here is a simple yet effective desk workout you can complete in the office.
An office workout doesn't necessarily have to involve you increasing your heart rate and getting all hot and bothered, some simple stretches and incorporating a little exercise into your daily routine can be just as beneficial to your health. Don't feel as though you have to invest in an exercise ball or start doing wall sits, push ups and chair squats in the middle of the office. (If however, you do have the time and energy for more intense office exercises then definitely go for it!)
These two straightforward stretches focus on the upper body and can be completed while sat at your desk to help improve posture and focus. They also don't involve too much effort.
- Raise your right arm and bend it until your hand is touching the opposite shoulder blade
- Using your other hand, gently pull your elbow towards your head
- Hold this position for 2-3 seconds and take some slow, deep breaths
- Whilst remaining seated, clasp both of your hands together
- Stretch your arms above your head with your palms facing the ceiling
- Push your arms up and stretch
- Hold for 2-3 seconds and take deep, slow breaths
Anyone who spends the majority of their work day repeatedly tapping away at the keyboard may find that their hands and wrists feel strained from time to time. A great way to release wrist pressure is to perform some simple wrist stretches.
Releasing Wrist Pressure
- Extend your arm with your palm facing the ceiling
- Using your other free hand, gently push your fingers back, stretching them towards the floor
- Hold the stretched position for 30 seconds
- Slowly pull your fingers back towards your body
- Repeat on the other wrist
- Whilst standing, place your palms together in a praying position
- Make sure your elbows are touching each other
- Your hands should be in front of your face and touching each other from the tips of your fingers to your elbows
- Press your palms together whilst slowly pressing your elbows apart
- Do this and lower your hands to reach your waist
- Stop when your hands are in line with your belly button or you feel the stretch
Leg Stretches and Exercises
Sitting at a desk all day long can cause your legs to cramp and restrict blood flow, which is why it’s important that you stretch your leg muscles and move your lower body whenever you can. Desk leg exercises and stretches are a great way to do this, as like many of the other exercises mentioned in the article; they can easily be done at your desk.
- Remain seated at your desk and ensure you have room to stretch your legs out fully in front of you
- Place both of your heels on the floor with your toes pointing upwards
- Reach with your arms towards your toes and if you can, touch them
- Hold this position for a few seconds and you should feel the hamstring stretching
Knee 'Hugging' Position
- Lean back in your chair and clasp your hands together or you can also do this office stretch standing
- Place your hands over your knee in a hugging position and lift your bent knee to your chest
- Hold it close to your chest for a few seconds and then switch legs and repeat