Stuck in the office all day? You can still sneak in some exercise.
Updated: Tuesday 17 November 2020
Many of us are tethered to a desk for the better part of the day. Working 9 to 5 jobs, odd hours and even working from home means you are hunched over a computer, typing away furiously and rubbing the monitor-induced fatigue out of your eyes.
Does this mean you have an excuse when it comes to working out? No, quite the opposite. It will come as no surprise that working long hours stationary in front of a multitude of screens is not good for your health and can increase your risk of just about everything from cancer to varicose veins and diabetes (indirectly), if you follow the never ending list of health scares in the media.
Movement - however small or brief - is important as it helps to keep your blood circulating, generates body heat and uses up all those pesky calories from your colleagues’ birthday treats.
But exercising from your chair has been promoted for some time now, whether it is for a regular working day or a long haul flight. Either way, there’s barely enough room to stretch your legs at your seat. A few years ago, Singapore Airlines included a pamphlet in the seat pocket with a pictoral guide to leg stretches, particularly important to prevent the all too common ankle swelling when flying the draining journey over the Pacific. They were simple, easy to follow and they worked!
Here are some quick and easy workouts that you can sneak into your daily working routine - right at your desk, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, around it.
- Stretch your legs in front of you, toes pointing up, then point them down and repeat several times.
- Next, rotate your ankles and switch direction every so often.
- Get your calves moving by rocking your feet on your heel a few times as well.
- Lift your knee to your chest and hold for a approximately 30 secs. Repeat with other leg.
- Get up and walk around the office every hour or so.
- Stretch you arms in front of you (clasping your hands) and push away from your body.
Hold this position and lift the arms above your head and towards your back as far as you can.
- Bend over so that the torso is resting on your lap and you can touch your ankles.
- Hold your arms straight behind you and clasp your hands, pushing as far as you can up.
- Pull your arm straight across your body with the other hand and hold for a few seconds. Repeat with other arm.
- Grasp your elbows tightly and push your arms behind your head, pulling one, then the other.
- Flap your arms up and down by your sides like a bird. You might look ridiculous, but it’s for a good cause.
- Stretch your arms over your head as earlier and bend sideways as far as possible. Make sure you don’t twist your spine or bring your opposite shoulder forward. Repeat on the other side.
- Twist your body in your chair one way, then the other. You can hold the arm rests for support.
Always remember - sit straight, have your monitor at eye level, take frequent mini-breaks and drink plenty of water. And fidget - it’s been proven to help you lose calories and aid blood circulation.