Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Four Exercises You Can Do at Your Desk

A sedentary person, or "typical couch pot...
A sedentary person, or "typical couch potato." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today's sedentary lifestyle causes more health problems than most people realize, or can even imagine. Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to dozens of obesity-related diseases and health problems, and it's no wonder why. It has been a fairly recent development in human history that many of us sit at desks all day and aren’t up and about performing physical activity. 
The human body wasn’t designed to just sit around, which is partially why obesity and other health concerns related to physical activity have become such a problem.  The good news is, being strapped to a desk all day doesn’t mean you can’t perform activities to stay healthy.  Here are 4 great exercises you can do to stay active without leaving the comfort of your cubicle. 

Quick Cardio
In order to keep your heart healthy, you have to elevate your heart rate often.  And it's not necessary (or even best) to elevate it for 20-30 minutes at a time, as conventional exercise "wisdom" would have you believe.  If you have 5 minutes free during the day, that’s enough to get the blood pumping.  Here’s a great way to get your blood moving without having to leave your chair.  First, pump your arms up and down above your head for 30 seconds.  Next, then tap your feet rapidly back and forth like you’re trying to run in place.  Now alternate these back and forth for about 5 minutes. 

Arm Stretches
Stretching your arms and wrists is a great idea if you sit at a desk all day and type.  It can help relieve stress from the repeated actions.  Here are some wrist and arm stretches that can be done quickly and easily.  First extend your arm in front of you with your wrist bent back so your palm is facing out.  Use the other arm to pull back your hand; you should be able to feel your whole arm stretching out.  After repeating this exercise with both arms, press your palms firmly together in front of you.  Be sure to keep your elbows bent and lifted.  Bend your wrists back and forth, pushing gently with your hands.

Leg Lifts
Constantly staying in the same position all day, whether sitting or standing can be damaging to your legs.  This simple exercise will help increase leg circulation and improve the health of your legs.  While sitting in your chair, simply extend one leg until it is straight.  Hold, the return it back to the floor.  Continue this exercise for a few minutes, alternating legs.  Lift one leg a few inches off the floor while keeping your knees bent.  Again, you should hold and release, then repeat for a few minutes with both legs.

Back Stretches
Sitting or standing on your legs all day can not only damage your legs, it can be murder on your back.  The best way to relieve back pain at work actually takes no extra time out of your day, it just requires a bit of concentration.  Just make sure you use proper posture throughout the day.  Sitting straight up in your chair all day without slouching can cause long term relief of pain.  If you need temporary relief of back pain, simply arch your back by pulling your stomach forward and bending your shoulders back. Repeat several times.  Another great way to stretch your back is to keep your lower body facing forward in your chair while turning around with your upper body. Do this several times on both sides.

While these exercises aren’t going to give you a killer body, they will help you feel better, relieve and prevent pain, and help improve your blood flow.
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