Do you struggle to find time to exercise? Does your job require long hours at a desk? Would you like to get fit while you sit?
Experts recommend getting about 30 minutes of exercise per day. That might sound like a lot, but breaking it up into 5- to 10-minute increments can help you fend off aches and pains and keep you energized to take on the day. And while it may feel challenging to fit exercise into your busy day, research shows that taking breaks is actually beneficial for our overall performance at work!
Plus, did you know that you can work out while at work? Our therapists share some quick exercises you can do without leaving your desk.
Easy Exercises To Do At Your Desk
1. Desk yoga
Yoga stretches are a great way to relieve tension and stress from the body while giving your brain a break as well. Spending a few minutes each day doing basic stretches and movements, such as a neck roll, can help you give some TLC to the muscles we build tension in while seated hunched over a computer.
Sit upright without letting your back touch the back of the chair. Hold your head directly over your spine, as if there was a string lifting the crown of your head up. Then, drop your right ear toward your right shoulder without lifting your right shoulder or turning your head. Take several breaths in and out, feeling the stretch on the left side of your neck. Repeat on your left side.
2. Wrist stretches
Especially for individuals who spend a lot of time typing, wrist stretches can help prevent injury and alleviate soreness while fighting the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Before stretching out your wrist, warm up by rotating your wrist up, down, and side to side, and stretching and relaxing your fingers a few times.
A great stretch for your wrist is a prayer stretch. Start with your palms together in front of your chest, just below your chin. Then, lower your hands towards your waist until you feel a stretch in your forearms. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then repeat 3 more times!
3. Seated high knees/Seated leg raises
Seated high knees and leg raises are great office friendly options to activate several different muscles in your body. These exercises can help alleviate low back pain, stabilize your hips and pelvis, and strengthen the muscles in your legs and glutes.
To do a seated high knee or seated leg raise, start with a stable seated position and a neutral spine. For a seated high knee, you will raise one leg at a time towards your chest in a bent position. Similarly, for a leg raise you will raise one leg at a time, straightening your knee. For extra stability, hold on to the edges of the chair.
4. Tricep dips
Tricep dips target the tricep muscle on the back of your upper arms, along with other upper body muscles including the pectoralis major, trapezius, and serratus anterior. To complete a chair tricep dip, grip the front of the chair and position your body so your torso is forward off the chair with your arms extended, buttocks hovering over the floor, and legs slightly bent. Slowly lower your body toward the floor by bending at the elbows. Then raise your body up by straightening your arms at the elbow. One set should be about 10-15 repetitions.
5. Desk plank/Desk push up
Desk planks and desk push-ups are exactly what they sound like – planks and push-ups using your desk instead of the floor! These exercises work your whole body for a low-maintenance moment of fitness that’s easy to incorporate into your work day.
To begin, stand facing your desk. Place your hands approximately shoulder-width apart on the desk. With your core engaged and making sure your back is straight, place both hands on your desk. Lower your upper body down to meet the desk. For a plank position, simply hold this “down” position. For a push-up, press back up to an upward position.
6. Calf raises
Calf raises are a great way to fit exercise into your workday, even if you’re in a cubicle–you don’t need much space. This exercise targets the muscles in the back of your lower leg and challenges your balance as you raise up. To complete a calf raise, lift your heels slowly off the ground and back down again.
How Can I Start Working Out?
An annual physical therapy assessment can help you optimize your fitness goals. Physical therapists provide comprehensive evaluations of your musculoskeletal system in order to identify areas of strength and weakness. They can customize an exercise program that can be completed wherever you work out. Contact the PTS team to create your individualized plan today. Call 309-231-0676 or send us a message here.