Are you sitting comfortably? Well that might be the problem! Medical studies regularly remind us that our sedentary working lives are causing serious health problems. Even if we regularly drag ourselves to the gym in the evenings, it’s not always enough to counter the damaging effects of sitting still for much of the day.
In an ideal world, our jobs would incorporate some sort of physical activity to keep our bodies in an active state, but anyone who is deskbound will know this is but an idle dream. Yes, the digital age has a lot to answer for in terms of our health, but, with a little creativity and a little humour, all is not lost. If you haven’t already met, we’d like to introduce you to some ‘deskercise’!
Why fork out on extortionate gym fees when your very own office space can be adapted into a fitness emporium?
If your inner voice protests against huge monthly gym fees vs. a healthier lifestyle, here’s some food for thought; why fork out on extortionate gym fees when your very own office space can be adapted into a fitness emporium? Short bouts of aerobics, strength exercises and stretches at regular intervals can help prevent the onset of rigor mortis on days when you and your desk begin to fuse into a single being. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
The Bond villain chair swivel
It’s all about core these days. The Bond villain style ‘desk chair swivel’ (fluffy white cat is optional) is perfect for switching on your abs and obliques. Sit upright and with your feet hovering over the floor, hold the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumb. Next, use your core to swivel the chair from side to side. Swish back and forth for 15 reps or until you feel the burn. Repeat three times.
The Kardashian Klench
If you’re going for the Kardashian look, the ‘silent seat squeeze’ – or, as we’ve called it, the ‘Kardashian Klench’ – might be for you. Tense your glutes for five second bursts while sitting at your desk, repeating for 15 reps. Regular clenching is a great way to gain buns of steel without even leaving your Excel Spreadsheet. The real challenge? Doing the clench without letting your facial expressions give you away to your colleagues.
Since the invention of television, the pitfalls of staring at a screen have been widely documented. Our eyes need to be looked after just like any other part of our bodies. Try blinking quickly for five second bursts, focusing on distant objects, zooming your vision in and out and performing figures of eight with your eyes without moving your head. Doing these simple exercises can help maintain your hawk-eye vision.
Handy ways to avoid RSI
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the one area of your body that gets a regular workout each day is your hands. Studies show that the stress we put our hands through by using laptops and mobile phones can be severely damaging. Try this simple exercise to help prevent the onset of arthritis or RSI in your wrists. Place your forearm on a table with your hand hanging off the edge of the table, palm down. Move the hand upward until you feel a gentle stretch. Then return to the starting position. Repeat the motion ten times. To help your thumbs stay flexible, begin with your thumb positioned outward and then move the thumb across the palm and back to the starting position. You know the drill: repeat ten times and at regular intervals throughout the day.
Fostering a little healthy competition with your colleagues can be a good way to fire up motivation. Why not pin up a leader board with details of everyone’s scores, records and targets. If you really want to take this seriously, why not recapture the spirit of London 2012 and hold a short medal ceremony at the end of each quarter – a fun way to bring people together to talk about their health goals.
We want to hear about your own deskercise tips and ideas, so do share, either here or on Twitter. Join us in incorporating health and a greater sense of wellbeing into office life. Above all, help us identify when our own colleagues are indulging in a sneaky Kardashian Klench 🙂