If there is one thing that humans are incredible at, it’s adapting to their surroundings. While the majority of humans used to spend the bulk of their days standing or doing manual labour, nowadays, many people spend at least a third of their day in an office, sitting at a desk. If that is the case for you, you probably also know what it’s like to get the itch to get up and get moving, until another email pops up to distract us yet again, that is.
At VanSports & Physio, we are passionate about fitness and health and know that to fitness goals, and maintain them, it takes an ongoing commitment. And with today’s hectic lifestyle, it’s not always easy to find the time to give yourself a proper workout. So we’ve come up with a guide to help you strengthen and tone and stretch your way to fitness, all from the comfort of your office.
Good posture and great fitness start with a strong core, which can be the first thing to go the more time we spend sitting in chairs. But you can use that chair to your advantage and do core strengthening exercises while you sit. Simply slide yourself to the edge of your seat, sit up completely straight and raise your arms to a 90 degree angle so they are parallel to the ground. Engage your core and slowly begin to lower your upper body back, so in a sense you are doing a reverse sit up. (A lean back?) As longs as you keep your abdominal muscles engaged, you should be able to feel the burn after a few. Do as many as you can!
Perhaps you feel like your legs are being underused with all that chair sitting, so don’t be shy to get up and do some leg exercises. An easy leg exercise to try that will build strength is simple leg lifts. You can do these from your chair or you can stand next to the wall with a hand on it for support. Next, lift your leg as high as you can, straight out in front of you. This will also exercise your core and will be easier if you engage your abdominal muscles. Hold for a count of five (or longer!) and then switch sides.
Possibly the most common consequence associated with life in an office chair is back problems; you can help stem the problem with this simple back strengthener called the reverse fly. Stand with you feet shoulder-width apart, you knees slightly bent, and back held straight. See if you can find something to act in place of weights in the office, if not, consider bringing in a couple of small dumbbells and keeping them in your desk drawer. Now, with you palms facing in, bend slightly at the waist and engage your core (again!). With your elbows slightly bent, lift your arms out to the sides as high as they will go by squeezing your shoulder blades together. A stronger back will lead to better posture and will have a positive ripple effect through your entire body.
You might also notice that your neck is getting sore at work. This might be the result of leaning your head unnaturally forward toward the light of your computer screen, something you might be doing without even noticing. A good neck workout that you can do anytime, anywhere (without looking too strange) consists of head circles. Try taking it slowly and going in both directions.
Another key component to good health is staying flexible. By staying at our desk hour after hour, we can often feel our hip flexors tighten up or even feel our wrists starting to ache. Make sure you take the time to examine where you are feeling stiff and focus on stretching out those areas, whether it is flexing your heels up the wall to lengthen your calves or pressing your fingers back to stretch out your palms and wrists. Every little bit counts!
We hope you’ve found this brief guide to an office work of help. The important thing is to get up and move around at regular intervals. Even if it feels like you are disrupting your work to do so, exercise intervals have the added bonus of refocusing your mind on the task at hand making you more productive.
If you have any questions about how to achieve or maintain your optimal health, be in touch with our passionate and knowledgable staff at VanSport & Physio.