The Office Gym
Have you ever wondered how much time you spend sitting at your desk at work? Do you ever feel tired, stiff and drained when leaving the office, or frustrated that yet another week has gone by where you were too busy to get to the gym or go for a run?
An article published by ‘BusinessTech’ reported that South Africans are the fourth hardest-working nation in the world, working an impressive 43.3 hours per week. This means that a significant portion of a persons’ days are spent sitting – whether it be in a meeting, at your desk or in front of a computer.All this sitting can result in a wide range of aches and pains, and too often physio’s see patients with injuries sustained as a result of how they sit while at work. So, instead of letting the long hours get you down or keep you from reaching your fitness goals, why not exercise at the office!?
Exercise has many positive impacts on our health, not only physically but mentally. It assists in managing your weight, and may prevent the development of conditions such as High Blood Pressure or Heart Disease. Exercise can improve your mood and boost your energy, and can even improve sleep patterns. It is therefore vital that we incorporate exercise into our daily routine, even if it’s just a few minutes every day.
So how can you get a workout at the office? Here are a few exercises and stretches to get you moving at your desk and only take 10 mins.
Stretches for your arms and legs
While sitting, interlace your fingers and straighten your arms out in front of you. Now, bring your arms up over your head and reach up towards the ceiling. Hold these positions for 30seconds each, taking a deep breathe in and out for each stretch. Once complete, straighten one leg out in front of you with your foot flexed ad your toes pointing towards the ceiling, and repeat with the other leg after 30 seconds.
Stretch for your back
In sitting, cross one leg over the other. Now, place your opposite hand on the opposite knee and rotate your back towards the side of the crossed leg, turning your head as you move. Hold this position three times for 30 seconds each. Repeat for the opposite side.
Lower Limb Strengthening
In sitting, cross your arms at shoulder height. Position your feet on the floor a hip-width apart, knees bent. Now, without using your arms, stand up. Repeat this squat 20 times, keeping your back straight and controlling your movement as your stand or sit.
Standing with one foot placed behind you on the seat of your chair, and with your hands on your hips, you lower yourself into a lunge position, controlling the chair with your foot. Make sure that when you lunge, your front knee stays in line with your toes and does not move inwards or outwards. Repeat 20 times. If this exercise is a bit challenging at first, start by assuming the starting position, bending your front knee slightly and, while in this position, roll the chair backwards and forwards with your other foot.
In sitting, with your feet a hip-width apart and your knees bent to 90⁰, lift your heels up off the floor, bearing your weight over your toe. Make sure your ankles are not bending outwards or inwards as you perform the exercise. Repeat 20 times.
Upper Limb Strengthening
Start by sitting on the edge of your seat, with your hands place on either side of you, grasping the chair. Now, slide your hips forward so that you are suspended over the front of the chair by your arms. In this position, bend your elbows and lower yourself down and back up. Repeat 20 times. If your chair is not stable enough for the exercise, you can also use the side of your desk, or anchor your feet against the wall.
In standing, place your hands on the edge of your desk and take a step backwards, so that your body is in one straight line at an angle to the desk. With your elbows tucked in at your sides, perform a push-up. Repeat 20 times.
Core Muscle Exercises
Sitting upright with your arms outstretched in front of you, grasp your water bottle or any other piece of office equipment/stationery weighing roughly 1-2kg. While maintaining good posture and a straight back, rotate your body to one side, moving the arms in a steady horizontal plane. Return to the centre, then rotate to the other side. Remember that throughout the exercise, your hips should remain facing forwards and not rotate with the upper body. Repeat 10 times to each side.
Shift forward so that you are sitting in the centre of your seat. Now, tilt your upper body backwards and lift your legs up off the floor and tuck your knees to your chest, holding onto the chair with both hands. From this position, straighten your legs out horizontally in front of you, while leaning slightly backwards. Return to the starting position. Repeat 20 times.
Let your working experience become active to ensure a healthy future!
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