10 Deskercises to Improve Your Wellbeing at Work
Feeling stressed, fatigued or unable to focus properly at work? Who's up for some Deskercise? Sadly I doubt that Deskercise it is set to become the next fitness craze (although I'm sure the DVD would make a great Christmas present), but exercising at your desk can be an enjoyable and convenient way to improve your health and flexibility, whilst also helping you to de-stress and re-focus during the workday.
Just because you are at work all day or possibly suffer from limited mobility doesn't mean you can't make the most out of your sitting position and partake in some extremely effective deskercises!
A lot of us end up sitting for most of the day due to our job or social activities. Such a large amount of sitting can have a detrimental effect on our health. It can increase our risk of excessive weight gain, back pain, poor posture and leg cramps to name but a few! If you are lucky enough, you might have access to a workplace wellness program that provides fitness classes or facilitiesyou with com
Sedentary behaviour is dangerous for your health due to a number of reasons. In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reported that people who spend more hours of the day sitting have up to a 66% higher risk of developing certain types of cancer than those who aren’t as sedentary. So it's time to get moving! Below are ten exercises you can perform every day, or mix together in a circuit to improve your health and flexibility while you’re at work sitting at your desk!
1. Calf raise
This one is to tone up your calves while sitting! Sit with your feet flat on the floor with a straight posture and bum in the back of the chair. Raise your heels so you are on your tiptoes and lower again. This should nicely burn your calf muscles and keep the blood flowing. Try 4 sets of 20 reps.
2. The seat squeeze for your glutes
Simple but effective to tone your derrière. While sitting with an upright posture, squeeze your glutes together, hold the squeeze for 5 seconds and release the contraction. Do these for 4 sets of 15 repetitions for some great glute toning activity.
3. Seated leg raise
A great one for your quads, sitting up straight, raise your legs up under your desk to a 90-degree angle, before straightening them out and holding the position for 5 seconds and lowering in a controlled motion. This will help sculpt the upper leg areas and no one will notice! Try with 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
4. The push prayer
A great one to active the muscles in the arms; the push prayer. Sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, bring your palms together in front of the chest and push both hands together powerfully until you feel your arm muscles contract. Hold the hands together for around 20 seconds. Release the squeeze and repeat for roughly 3 sets of 5.
5. Full body lift
A great move for upper body flexibility and strength. You can also progress this move by adding more time to it. Raise your legs into a criss-cross position while seated in an upright position in your chair. Place your hands on the armrests, push upwards to raise yourself out of the seat and remain floating for 10-20 seconds.
6. Shoulder shrug
Great for relieving tension in the neck area the shoulder shrug is simple and you can even add weight to it if you want! Sitting upright with a good posture lift your shoulders like you’re trying to hide your neck. Hold for two seconds and lower your shoulders down in a controlled motion. Try 3 sets of 12 repetitions and to progress the exercise add an even weight to each hand like a 1kg dumbbell.
7. The chair squat
Who doesn’t love the squat? The pinnacle of all gym-goers exercise regimes! While sitting, lift up until your hips are just hovering over the chair, arms out for balance. Hold for 2-3 seconds, stand all the way up and repeat for 16 reps.
8. Ab Twists
Yes, you can work on your washboard stomach while sitting in your chair. All you need to do is hold a full water bottle at chest level keeping your knees and hips forward, gently twist to the left as far as you comfortably can, feeling your abs contracting. Twist back to the centre and move to the left for a total of 10 reps.
9. Bicep curl
If you can keep some full water bottles or even better, some little dumbbells under your desk you can pick them up, sit up straight and curl them up towards your elbow as a controlled biceps curl. Try 10 double (both arms together) repetitions in 3 sets.
10. Stand up
The simplest but most effective thing you can do at your desk is stand up. Get up out of that chair as often as you can. Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA's Life Sciences Division and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, about the hazards of chronic sitting, and how to avoid succumbing to its ill effects. Her research has revealed you need to ensure ‘you move your body frequently throughout the day.’ The simple act of standing up from your seated position has been found particularly effective at counteracting the detrimental health effects of sitting.
Dr Graham Colditz of Washington University School of Medicine suggests there are ways to be less sedentary, either at home or at the office, which we can all adopt. Try to take regular breaks every couple of hours, enjoy a little walk around the office grounds or step outside into the fresh air! These alterations to your day coupled with the effective desk exercises above will improve your mental health as well as your physical health. Don’t delay it any longer!
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