5 invigorating desk exercises
Staying active is one of the keys to mind and body health. Maybe you already exercise five times a week — if so, great! But if you find yourself at a desk for 12 hours a day, chances are that exercising after working these long hours will not prevent soreness or fatigue, and may even lead to a drop in productivity.
The answer is so simple, yet few of us make the commitment to ourselves to make it happen: Just move. You can even do it at your desk with these five simple desk exercises to invigorate you.
1. For your core
Seated in your chair, swivel to the side so that you have room to move your legs. Cross your legs and put your feet up on the edge of your seat. With your hands on the armrests, lift yourself above your seat by just a few inches. Hold in your gut and tighten your core muscles; you’ll also be working your chest muscles. Hold this for at least 10 seconds and up to 30. Rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat for a total of five holds.
2. Get your heart pumping
This is easy and fast. Look at your clock or a timer on your phone, and let loose for 60 seconds. Jumping jacks, jogging in place, running in place with the knees high or even just jumping in place for one minute will get your blood going and warm up your body. It will also make it easier to focus when you start working again. At Tony Robbins events, attendees are provided with the opportunity to get “in state,” which involves radically changing the body’s posture to produce a positive state of mind.
3. Lower body
Standing next to your desk, place your feet shoulder-width apart. Stand tall and breathe. Slowly squat down, keeping your knees just above your toes. Rise up just as slowly. Repeat for at least 10 repetitions — and make sure they’re slow enough that this still takes at least one minute. For a modification, try lunges, which engage the muscles in your rear end. Remember to engage your entire mind and body with deep breathing.
4. Push your upper body
Desk push-ups are a surprisingly challenging way to strengthen your upper body and build endurance. First, check to see that your desk can support your weight. Stand up and place your hands flat on your desk. Back away from the desk while keeping your hands on it until your arms are straight and at a right angle to your torso. Do 15 slow, steady push-ups against the desk.
5. Stretch yourself
Even when you’re not getting in a full workout, stretching is great for your body. It relieves tension, makes you less susceptible to chronic pain, improves your balance and helps build muscle. To stretch your neck, slowly tilt your head until your ear touches your shoulder and stay in that stretch for 10-counts on each side. Stretch your chest muscles by stretching your arms back behind you and holding. Pull each arm across your body to stretch them. Finally, stand up and slowly reach toward your toes to stretch out your legs.
Remember, don’t be embarrassed! Your health, mood and productivity are your priority here, and your co-workers will see you making your goals happen while guarding your health. And who knows — maybe you’ll get an office workout buddy out of the deal.