Deskercise: 10 Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk


About the author: Andy Romero-Birkbeck, hero Content & Delivery Director, has over 15 years’ experience in Manageable Health & Wellbeing and regularly delivers workshops and seminars on all areas of physical and mental health.


Research has proven that exercising at your desk and being generally more active within the workplace not only has some great physical benefits, but also mental benefits too. In a study conducted by James Levine at the Mayo Clinic, employees taking part in an experiment to move more within the workplace found that their stress levels were massively reduced, as well as seeing a 15% increase in their productivity. As little as 30 minutes of exercise around the office a day can impact your health in a positive way and some exercises at your desk can also burn an impressive number of calories!

 

Why is keeping active in the office important?

Research from insurers AXA found that 45% of British women and 37% of men spend less than 30 minutes on their feet a day. Being sat at your desk all day can have some bad implications on your health. Research has shown that people in the UK took 30 million days off work due to muscle and bone related health issues, which can be caused by sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Other health impacts include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Good cholesterol plummets
  • Leg muscles can reduce  
  • Weight gain
  • Back problems

By simply making sure you are more active throughout your day in the office, you can help to reduce the risk of these health issues.

 

Top tips on keeping active at work

There are lots of simple ways to become more active within the workplace, changing up your office desk to spend some time at a standing desk is one of those ways, allowing you to move around more throughout the day. Other solutions are taking the stairs instead of waiting for the lift, doing some squats whilst boiling the kettle, filling a glass with water instead of a bottle so you take more trips to fill it up, popping over to a colleague’s desk instead of emailing them, and having walking meetings.

 

The 10 best deskercises to try out at work

  1. Seated spinal rotation: cross your arms across your chest and place them on your shoulders while seated then gently rotate your upper body from left to right, as far as you can stretching your lower back
  2. Posterior shoulder stretch: hold one arm straight across your body and pull your elbow towards your chest to stretch your shoulder
  3. Shoulder shrugs: gently lifting and dropping your shoulders will release tension in them
  4. Sitting back extensions: with your feet together sit up straight then place your palms on your lower back and lean into and over them to stretch it out
  5. Neck rotations: with your head kept upright turn it gently from side to side, trying to move it past your shoulder which should stretch out the muscles in your neck
  6. Upper shoulder and neck stretch: sitting on one hand, tilt your head in the opposite direction and slightly forward towards your shoulder, releasing tension in both your neck and shoulder
  7. Shoulder extension: stand up from your desk and stretch your arms behind you, clasp your hands together and slowly raise them to ease the pressure in your shoulders
  8. Shoulder extension: raise both your arms above your head, link your palms and reach as high as possible to stretch your shoulders
  9. Correct positioning: prevent back pain by adjusting your sitting position into something that remains comfortable. Your chair should be close to your desk at all times with your feet fully flat on the floor and the top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes, about an arm’s length away
  10. Posture makes perfect: are you sitting properly? Your hips should be higher than your knees, your entire back should be supported by your seat so sit right back against it allowing the natural curve of your back to be supported by the natural curve of the chair, the back rest should be slightly reclined to around 10-15 degrees, shoulders should be relaxed and elbows should be at 90 degrees, just above the desk.

For more information about supporting your health and wellbeing at work, just reach out to the hero wellbeing team via hello@herowellbeing.com.