Exercise? At my desk? Really?

June 29, 2009

Simple desk exercises for your health

No, you won't make it to the Olympics, but you can benefit your health at the office.

Carol knew she should exercise, but her desk job kept her anchored – so her weight piled on like assignments and her flexibility went in the trash can.

Do you know Carol? Does her story sound familiar?

Sit down and shape up

Working behind a desk provides more opportunity for exercise than you may think. Sure, you won't get to the Olympics or develop six-pack abs, but there's plenty you can do at work to improve – or maintain – your health.

Try these tips:

  1. Roll your ankles regularly to help improve blood circulation. Just lift your feet off the floor and move them in circles a few times.
  2. Sit with your back straight, your shoulders back, and the top of your monitor at eye level. Make sure your wrists don't lay on your keyboard or mouse pad – unless it has a wrist rest. This helps prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. Bend your legs at the knees so that your knees are slightly higher than your hips. Your feet should be flat on the floor or on a small stool.
  3. Roll your wrists often to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome if you type a lot.
  4. Stretch your arms, legs, neck, and torso while sitting to prevent feeling stiff.
  5. Stand up about every 30 minutes and stretch or walk around a bit. Stretch your calves. This can help prevent blood clots from developing in your legs. Believe it or not, middle-aged computer users frequently develop blood clots.
  6. Contract your abdominal and gluteal muscles, hold them there for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this every 10 minutes while you're working at your desk.
  7. Stretch your neck by flexing your head forward and backward, side to side, then look right and left. Don't roll your head around your neck because it could damage the joints in your neck.
  8. Get a hand gripper. They don't cost much and they provide an excellent workout for your forearms. Use it when you have to read something – you probably don't use your hands too much then.

Resources

VideoJug – How To Do Basic Deskercise

WebMD – Exercise at Your Desk

Associated Content – 5 Quick Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

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