Most of us have spent many years at a desk, from school and now the office. It can play havoc on your body for many reasons including tightness of hip flexors, carpel tunnel syndrome and varicose veins. Here are some cool sneaky fitness tips to do whilst in the office…no excuse to not move. Use that time wisely!
If you use the microwave at lunchtime to reheat your food/or coffee (make sure not in plastic) take that time to do wall-sits. I normally sneak in a good minute against the wall. Make sure your back is flat and your feet are about 2-3 feet out and then slide your back down the wall – eventually to get in a 90 degree position. Aim for 10-15 seconds and build up to a minute and beyond (but you should really get back to work!)
If you are lucky enough to work for an organization that allows for movable desks that means you can change to a standing position, then great. Use that to stretch your hip flexors, improve your posture and energy flow. If not, it may be possible to re-position your monitor(s) and keyboard by using raisers.
Talk & walk…or at least stand
Use the time you are not having to type, to stand and stretch. Stand when taking a phone call or walk around to visit your co-worker instead of emailing/making a call. Sounds simple and it is, but we are so used to sitting, we have to change our habit.
Yes, you can actually do yoga from a seated chair position. This is perfect for office workers. Obviously, it will be more basic and gentle than your usual downward dog (which I don’t recommend doing in the workplace!) but you can still get a useful stretch. There are many variations but my 3 top ones are:
1. a lot of tension is held in the neck, so some simple neck stretches from side to side and front to back are great;
2. a spinal twist, where you can ground your feet on the floor together, keep an upright torso/back straight and twist from side to side or use the momentum of the swivel chair and keep your hands on your desk and lift your feet off the floor; and
3. a chair forward bend, where on exhalation, come into a forward bend over the legs, let your hands rest on the floor if they reach it. Let the head hang heavy, then on inhalation, raise the arms back up over the head.
Try 10 of each a few times a day or whenever you can!
When you are waiting for your water, for that kettle to boil or for printing, stand straight on one leg, engage your core, bend your knees slightly and squeeze your glutes as you pull back with the other leg. Do 10 on each side.
Some people may think it is odd (if you get caught!) but employers these days increasingly understand the importance of keeping their most valuable asset, us workers as healthy as possible. Having an ergonomic desk assessment is also a great way to make sure your body is aligned as best as it can be. Just make sure you are not chained to your desk, have a break when you can, even to just get that blood flowing…remember HEALTH IS WEALTH ☺