Office Workout? 10 Simple Exercises to Stay Active at a Desk Job

1. Head Nod

This is great for reducing stress. First, bring your chin to your chest and hold it there for a full inhale and exhale. Then, lift your head up towards neutral and beyond, looking up towards the ceiling. Hold again for a full breath. Don’t overstretch.

Second, start with your head back in its neutral position and tilt your right ear down towards your right shoulder. Hold for one breath. Then bring your head back to neutral, and repeat for the left shoulder.

 Last, bring your head back to neutral and then rotate it in small circles. Start with clockwise, and then rotate counterclockwise.

2. Shoulder Roll & Shrug

If you’re slouching in a chair all day or have your hands in front of your body typing, your shoulders are likely to get tight and your posture may be slumped forward. Here’s an easy, little move to help. Keeping the hands neutral by your side, roll your shoulders forward three times and repeat, rolling backwards. Next, bring the shoulders to their neutral position and shrug them up towards the ears. Then drop the shoulders down, preferably with a big ‘whoosh’ breath. Repeat three times. 

3. Seated or Standing Y’s

Sit upright in your chair with a neutral spine and good posture. Spread your fingertips and place the outside of the pinky fingers on your thighs, thumbs facing the ceiling. Keep a soft bend at the elbow, and lift the arms into the air in a ‘Y’ shape, and then return back to the starting position. Complete 10-15 reps.

4. Wrist Flexion and Extension

Stretch and strengthen your wrist flexors and extensors and give the median nerve, which runs down the center of your wrist, a little break from any compression. With a steady wrist, simply alternate bringing your hand upwards as if gesturing “stop,” with bringing your palms down as far as they will go.

5. Reverse Fly Squeezes

Using good posture, pull your shoulders back. Then, bring your arms out to the side in a big letter “T.” Then, squeezing your shoulder blades together, pulse your outstretched arms back behind you towards one another, opening up your chest and using your upper back muscles. Complete 10 slow reps.

6. Air Punches

This is a great way to get out any pent up tensions or frustration. Grab a few water bottles or a desk object with a little weight for each hand and stand with your feet staggered, one somewhat in front of the other. Then, rapidly punch your arms forward in succession, as if boxing. You’ll blast away tension and angst, raise your heart rate, get your blood circulating, and work your shoulders, arms, upper back, and core.

7. Marching Still

You can raise your knees or simply walk in place. The tempo is up to you but it is a great low-impact cardio exercise.

8. Jump Rope/Jumping Jacks

It’s a great way to get in some quick cardio, and a boost of energy. But, even if you don’t have a jump rope, you can reap the same benefits by substituting it with jumping jacks. It’s a fantastic way to increase your heart rate, get your muscles moving, burn a few calories, and improve bone density. 

9. Ankle Alphabets

To stretch and strengthen the muscles in your lower legs and ankles, draw each letter of the alphabet with your foot as you sit and work. Then switch sides.

10. Calf Raises

An easy move to tone your calves. This can be done seated or standing, although the latter is more challenging as it uses your entire body weight. With your feet hip-width apart, lift your heels off the floor while keeping your toes and balls of the feet down. Hold for a full inhale and exhale and then slowly lower. Complete 15 reps.

Artist, critic and a self proclaimed historian. I write about the this and thats, odds and ends, and etceteras of the art world.

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