With more and more of us doing sedentary jobs, regular exercise has begun to take a back seat in many of our lives. Although it’s recommended that you do cardio exercise a few times a week, there are ways to make the most of the long hours that you spend sitting at your desk. Try these deskercise tips.
Feet and legs
• Tap your feet quickly while sitting: simulating an on the spot sprint will raise your heart rate and get your blood circulating around your body.
• Hip flexions: keep your knees at a 90 degree angle and alternately raise one foot a few inches from the floor. Hold each position for as long as you can (comfortably) before switching to the other leg. The tension that builds in your hip area will tone and strengthen your legs without you having to leave your desk.
• Leg extensions: keeping your knees together, raise one foot out in front of you and point your toes. Holding this position for as long as possible before swapping legs will strengthen the muscles and stretch them to increase the blood flow around your body.
Arms, hands, shoulders and neck
• Raise and circulate your shoulders regularly to keep the blood flowing and stop tension building. Also make sure that your desk is set up correctly with your monitor at the correct height so that you don’t hunch your shoulders and create back problems for yourself.
• Stretch your arms and wrists: reach your arm across your chest and use the opposite hand to hold your elbow; stretch one arm out in front of you with palm facing upwards, then use the other hand to gently pull your fingertips back towards yourself to stretch wrists and forearms.
• Lift weights: use weights (or a water bottle) to do bicep curls and overhead lifts. Holding the positions for longer will help to build muscles.
• Bum clenches: do exactly that to make your derriere pert and firm.
• Keep your back straight: making a conscious effort to keep your posture while tucking your stomach in as much as you can will increase core muscles. When core muscles are strong, back problems become less and less of a problem, which is a huge bonus for anyone who spends more than a few hours a day at their desk. However make sure that you stretch your back regularly too. Placing your hands on your hips and twisting around slowly to each side while your back is straight can help relieve a few muscle pains.
• Squatting at your seat: use every muscle in your body by lifting yourself up from your seat using your arms to support you. If you’re a bit braver and you don’t mind your colleagues’ reactions, move forward from your chair and squat in front of it using your arms to support you in the seat behind you.
On top of these ‘deskercises’, using the stairs instead of the lift, cycling to work or even just going for a 20 minute walk during your lunch break can keep you that little bit fitter.