It’s time you get introduced to effective desk exercises, or “deskercises.” These, as the name suggests, are exercises you can do even while you’re at your desk and engrossed with work. But why even do them in the first place? After all, deskercising will eat away at your precious time, and might even make you tired. Well, that may be true, but as it turns out, there are compelling reasons to do these effective desk exercises.
Why you should exercise at your desk
Chances are you’re now sitting for hours at a time at home, and that’s hazardous to your health. An article about the dangers of sitting published in The Independent notes that prolonged sitting increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease — conditions linked to over 70,000 deaths yearly in the UK. It can also tighten your hip flexors, potentially leading to knee pain and a bad back.
Fortunately, you can mitigate these risks by performing effective desk exercises. These deskercises will not only break your workdays up but also improve your overall fitness. Indeed, health writer James Gonzales highlights the importance of setting aside time for physical activity — be it a short yoga session or an intense workout once you finish work. Ideally, you’d move away from your desk to give your body the jolt of action it needs. That said, deskercises are an excellent alternative, as you’ll get to sneak in some physical activity while still getting work done. Here are a few you can try:
Desk exercises to try
Why you should do it: Physiotherapist Tim Allardyce explains that stretching lengthens and elongates muscle fibre, directly counteracting the effects of prolonged sitting, which shortens and tightens muscles. Stretching will prevent stiffness, and help decrease your risk of injury and stiffness due to sitting for long periods of time.
How to do it: Clasp your hands together high above your head, with your palms facing outward. Push your arms upward as high as you can, then hold for 30 seconds. Next, plant your feet firmly on the floor, then twist your upper body to the left and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat, twisting your upper body to the right this time.
2. Shoulder squeeze
Why you should do it: Prolonged sitting can also wreck your posture and cause your back to hunch causing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Shoulder squeezes can help prevent that, and give your shoulders and upper back a workout.
How to do it: Squeeze your shoulder blades tightly by pretending to hold a pen placed at the centre of your upper back. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10–15 times.
3. Hand spiders
Why you should do it: You’re probably at risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which can cause both pain and discomfort in your wrists and hands. Doing hand spiders can decrease that risk.
How to do it: Put your hands together, as if you’re praying. Separate your palms slowly, making sure to keep the tips of your fingers in contact with one another. Hold for 5–10 seconds and aim for 10 repetitions.
4. Tricep dips
Why you should do it: Tricep dips help strengthen the upper body, particularly the triceps, shoulders, and chest. It can also get your heart rate up, giving you a cardiovascular boost.
How to do it: Grip the front edges of your chair, then gently move your body a few inches away from it. Straighten both arms, hold at the top, then return to the starting position. Aim for 10–15 repetitions.
Why you should do it: As squats work the lower body, notably the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. They also build muscles, burn fat, and boost metabolism.
How to do it: Stand up, should-width apart. Squat so that your butt and knees are parallel then stand back up for one count. Repeat 10–20 times.
6. Lower ab leg lifts
How to do it: Sit up straight with both feet on the floor. Lift both legs up, keeping your core tight. Return to the starting position for one count. Look to do as many as you can.
The above exercises can help you get fit, healthy, and pain-free. The best part is they won’t get in the way of you being productive and can easily be fitted into your home schedule.
However, in case you do feel some pain, do check out iPhysio Bot. Our pain assessment tool can determine the likely cause of your pain and suggest ways to treat it.
Specially written for iPhysio.io
By: Ranaia Jaylyn