It's well known that spending all day behind a desk can have a negative affect on your health. There are some more body-friendly options available to help you ditch the desk chair, but if your boss isn't planning to install a standing desk anytime soon, you can try adding these stretches to your daily routine.
If you work in an office, it’s unlikely you can roll around on the floor pulling full body stretches, instead, try these discreet stretches you can do while you're sitting at your desk. Some simple stretches will improve your posture and keep any leftover pains from the weekend at bay:
Let's start at the top with your neck. Put one hand over your head and pull, slowly increasing the force, swapping hands and pulling in the other direction. You can do a variation of this with the palm of your hand pushing back on your forehead, then swapping again to push your head forwards from the back of your head to balance out the stretching.
Working downwards it's upper back and shoulders next. Try to dive through your monitor with your arms out in front of you as if you were really diving into a pool. Maybe Google an image of a tropical sea to add to the effect.
Be careful not to yawn during this one as it won’t look good in front of the boss. Reach up to the sky as high as you can to elongate your back. Add to the stretch with leaning to the left/right to include your sides in the stretch.
Pretend to be looking for something under your desk and whilst seated try and touch your toes. This will stretch your mid back, that area of your back that is prone to hunching whilst you hammer out the emails on your keyboard.
Talking about typing, don’t forget your hands or more specifically your wrists. Cycling and typing can lead to Carpal Tunnel issues. Hold 1 hand out in front of you and with your other pull your fingers upwards with the other, similarly push the back of your hand down to reverse the stretch.
Sitting at your desk for hours on end can be a bit like a long haul flight just without the films or flight attendants. An exercise borrowed from the in-flight magazine to prevent DVT is equally useful at your desk. With your heels on the floor pull your toes up towards you, next put your toes in the floor and lift your heels.
Whether it's running or cycling or even sitting, your IT Band (or Iliotibial band to use its proper name) takes a hammering. It looks a bit strange but try this in the coffee queue or whilst standing when commuting, cross one leg over the other and push the hip of the rear leg outwards and feel the burn (then you’ll know you’re doing it right).
Lastly don’t forget to stretch your legs. Get up and walk. Take a small water bottle to the water cooler so you go more often. When you go out to pick up your lunch go the long way round. Just 30 minutes of walking a day is proven to reduce diabetes and heart disease (assuming you’re not walking to lunch at McDonalds).
the ones I use for no-notice exercise are always to go for the furthest toilet and the furthest photocopier in the building - no-one can query those! And I use stairs if at all possible, never the lift.
that IT band stretch reminds me that I need to exercise mine more often. But what great ideas - discreet no equipment no sweat stretches!