Start the New Year with good intentions!
The importance of exercise at work: Useful exercises that can easily be done at your desk
by Carole Spiers
I was about to attend a meeting in London the other day and had five minutes to spare so I sat in the reception area and started to read my book. After just a few moments, some of the marketing team, whom I had met previously came over to me and asked for any suggestions I had as to how they could keep fit while they were stuck behind a desk all day.
So this is what I told them and I thought you might like to read them as well as they are useful exercises which can easily be done at your desk.
Hand warm-up routine: This is an excellent routine for keyboard/mouse users or those who do a lot of writing.
- Shake your hands and wrists vigorously to increase mobility and circulation. Press the fingers back from the palms to the fullest limits, with your fingers held together.
- Gently press each finger back separately.
- Clench and relax your fists.
- Rotate your hands from the wrists with your fists clenched keeping your elbows to the sides of your body.
- Always use a wrist protector pad to alleviate pressure from using your keyboard and mouse. Some people like to use a heated, wheat-filled bag to relieve the stress from tired forearm muscles, whilst typing.
Stretches to be done during a break away from your desk
Neck and Head
- Gently let your head come down onto your chest and bring it back up again. Slowly rotate to the left so your chin rests on your left shoulder, then bring back to the centre and then rotate to the right, and repeat the same procedure again.
- Clasp your hands behind your back and very gently raise your arms upwards. You should feel a stretch at the front of your chest and shoulder area. This is a good exercise for opening up the front body muscles and to eliminate tension.
- Raise your right arm so that it is against your right ear. Bend your arm so that your right hand is placed in the centre of your back between your shoulder blades. With your left hand, gently pull the arm further down so that your hand travels downwards. The stretch should be felt in your right arm and shoulders. Repeat the movement on your left side.
- Clasp your hands in front of you and imagine that you are hugging a tree. Push outwards from the shoulders and you will feel a stretch across the back of your shoulders.
- Bring both arms out in front of you and then bring the left arm round to the left side and then the right arm round to the right. Push behind with both arms to squeeze the shoulder blades together. The stretch should be felt on the front of your chest.
- Lie on the floor and bring your knees up into your chest. Hold for a few seconds and then relax.
- Bring the right knee over to the left shoulder and repeat on the other side. This stretches the sides, back and stomach muscles, and is very good for lumber pain and sciatica.
- The best exercise for the legs is to take regular breaks away from your desk. Walk around the office, take a trip to a colleague's office instead of phoning, and use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. The calf muscle is vital in pumping and returning the blood back up from the feet to the trunk of the body.
- Rotate and flex both feet. This will help stretch the calf muscle and assist the return of blood back to the heart via the leg veins.
Don't forget the eyes
- Rub your hands together to warm them, and then cup the eyes without pressing your hands to your eyes.
- Close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly, visualising that you are looking into darkness.
- This helps to relax the internal and external muscles of the eye. Also remember to give your eyes regular breaks away from the computer screen.
So there you have it! Whether you are in a cold and wet London or sunny Dubai, you can always make time, every day, to exercise your body.
And make sure this becomes a part of your daily routine as well.
Make exercise a part your daily routine Take regular breaks throughout the day Use the stairs!
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