For our readers who spend the majority of their time working at their desk, I wanted to create a list of movements to include in your office routine. These “deskercises” are effective and useful to implement every 30 to 45 minutes. Use these exercises to incorporate more routine movement into your day, improve blood flow and lymph circulation, release tension, and correct bad posture.
Before you incorporate these exercises in your work day, make sure you start with the right foundation. Your chair should be a proper office chair which means its shape supports your back and body so that you are in a good sitting position. Your computer should be set so that you can use it at eye level while sitting up right. Your desk should also be the right height. When you set your arms on the desk while sitting down, your shoulders should be relaxed - not elevated.
1. Neck Deskercise
Sit up straight without leaning back against your chair. Bring your hands together and interlace your fingers. Hold your torso by placing your hands on your chest. While looking straight ahead, tilt your head to the right and hold for 5 seconds. Do the same for the other side. Tilt your head back, facing the ceiling. Bring your hands to the back of your head and bring your chin close to your chest. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat the above and hold for just 1 second each time.
2. Torso Twist
Set your feet on the floor while sitting down. Turn your torso slightly to the right and firmly grab the edge of your desk. Push your torso away from the desk and turn your head back. Hold for 10 seconds. Do the same for the left side. For a deeper stretch, do the above with your right leg over the left and vice versa. If you have room, you can turn this into a more dynamic exercise by doing this torso twist standing up.
3. Full Body Stretch
Stand up from your chair. Bring your hands together and interlace your fingers. Put your arms up in the air above your head. Keep them straight and stretch your full body upwards. Imagine you are being pulled upwards by the ceiling. Go on your tiptoes to get a deeper stretch. Now, bring your whole torso into a forward fold. Imagine your body is folded in half like the folder phone back in the days. Shake away any tension in your lower back, shoulders, neck and arms. You can have a soft bend through your knees, but should be able to feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
4. Desk Cat & Cow
While sitting down, bring your body to the end of your chair. Wheel your chair backwards so that you can still reach the edge of your desk with straight arms. Engage your core and loosen up the tension in your traps by bringing your shoulders down. Stick out your bottom and create the biggest arch through your lower back. Bring your chin up and tilt your head back as much as you can. Hold for 5 seconds. Now, tuck your bottom in towards your navel so that your back is rounded like a ball. Bring your chin towards your chest and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this for 4 seconds the next set and 3 seconds for the one after and so on until you reach a 1 second hold.
5. Find Excuses to Move!
You should stand up from your chair and move during any appropriate chance that you have. Every hour or so, take yourself to the kitchen to fill up your water bottle or to use the bathroom. When appropriate, go over to your colleague for a quick discussion instead of sending an email. Take yourself out for a little walk during your lunch break instead of eating your meal in front of your computer while reading emails.