Did you know that the health risks associated with long periods of inactivity cannot be offset by regular, vigorous exercise? While exercise is vital to good health research published in 2010 by Swedish sports scientist Dr. Elin Ekblom-Bak shows that only regular, short movement breaks can reduce these risks.
The human body wasn’t designed to stay still all day long. Here are “do-at your desk” exercises to keep your joints limber and your body feeling focused and energized all day long – taken from one of my favourite magazines – The Art of Growing Young, Sept/Oct. 2009.
- Stand up as often as you can. Being tethered to your desk all day is not good for your body and staring at a computer monitor creates eyestrain.
- Do you type a lot? Here’s how to relieve some of the tension. Keeping your hands aligned with your wrists, separate and straighten your fingers until you feel a stretch. Hold for ten seconds, then bend your fingers at the end and middle of the knuckles and hold for ten more.
- Do your wrists bother you? Rotate both wrists in circular motions ten times, then reverse the direction and rotate ten more.
- Sitting too long can aggravate your back. Always try to sit with good posture-straight back with both feet flat on the floor parallel to each other.
- You can also try a little bit of workplace yoga. Start by resting your hands on your knees, palms down, while tilting your head back and pushing your chest out. At the same time breathe in, then hold the position for ten seconds. Then exhale while pressing your palms down onto your knees, and tilt your head down bringing your chin towards your chest while arching your spine and back towards the ceiling. At the same time, tense your abdominal muscles and pull them in towards your spine.
- Another back stretch is to twist your body at the waist in one direction while holding onto the chair’s arms or back. Hold for several seconds, then twist in the opposite direction. Don’t slouch or move your hips when you do this.
- Stress in your neck and shoulders? Slowly bring your shoulders forward and up towards your ears. Hold the position for three seconds. Then slowly roll your shoulders backward and down until they are back into their normal position. Relax them entirely, then repeat the exercise ten times.
- While looking forward and sitting straight, tilt your head to one side until you feel the stretch. Hold the pose for several seconds then slowly tilt your head in the opposite direction. Repeat several times.
- Similarly, turn your head in one direction until you feel the stretch. Hold for several seconds, then repeat in the opposite direction. Repeat several times.
- The best thing you can do for your legs is to stand up and walk around as often as you can, but when you’re absolutely stuck in your chair for a long period of time try this exercise for a little relief: Hold the bottom of your chair while lifting one leg until it is parallel to the floor. Hold this position and try to point your toes at the wall. You should feel your leg muscles being stretched. Switch between your legs several times, holding each stretch for ten seconds.