On the surface, working at a desk sounds easy on your body. You’re just sitting in a chair all day, right?
The problem is that your body wasn’t built to sit in a chair all day. Between stress and the unnatural lack of activity, stationary work can take a serious toll on your health.
Today is the day you can turn that around without rising early for a morning workout. Adding simple desk workouts and stretches and stretches to your workday can help you protect your health while staving off the aches and pains that come from desk work.
Desk Workouts Anyone Can Do
You’d be surprised how much of a workout you can get at your desk. Start with these easy exercises:
Is there any exercise that’s easier to fit into your life than squats? Workout gurus have suggested during them while you brush your teeth, watch TV, and wait for dinner to cook.
Your desk is another great place to work your quads and calves with squats.
Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down like you were going to sit in a chair, bending your knees and pushing your buttocks back. Most of your weight should be in your quads.
Take your time, spending three to five seconds squatting down and the same amount of time standing back up.
The Pec Stretch
If you’re like most of us, you probably hunch over too much as your desk without realizing it. Stretching your chest can undo that damage while boosting your flexibility.
Put your hands behind your back and press your palms together. While you do this, imagine that you’re trying to get your shoulder blades to touch each other. This opens your chest and gives you a refreshing stretch.
If you aren’t flexible enough to touch your palms together behind your back, you can modify. Place your hands against a wall instead or clasp your fingers. The action in your shoulder blades is the most important part of the stretch.
Balance on a Balance Board
As many stretches and exercises as you can do with body weight alone, the right equipment will open more doors.
A standing desk balance board is an easy item to stash at your office. Think of it as having a base and a standing board with a ball between them.
Standing on the balance board alone is an exercise in balance. You have to balance your weight between the two sides to keep the board straight.
After you’ve mastered this, try keeping your balance while you lean from one side to the other. You can make it even more difficult by standing on the balls of your feet at the same time.
Some days, work is a pain in the neck…literally. Stretching your neck can soothe your muscles and increase your flexibility with time.
Sit up in a chair and make sure your spine is straight. Tilt your head to the right as if you were trying to touch your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold this for a few seconds.
Repeat this stretch on your left side. Next, tilt your head up as if you want your chin to touch the sky. Finally, tilt your head down, trying to touch your neck with your chin.
Want to tone your glutes at work without being the weirdo who’s doing lunges around your office? Try an isometric approach.
While it works better when you’re standing, you can do this exercise seated too. Tense the muscles in your buttocks and hold them for three seconds. If you’re sitting, your gluteal muscles should be lifting your body.
As these squeezes become too easy, hold them for longer each time or increase the number of squeezes you do.
Without a doubt, the easiest part of your body to work out at your desk is your lower body. Far be it from us to let your upper body get lazy, though.
Wall push-ups are a great way to exercise your biceps and triceps at work. Find a flat stretch of wall and place your palms against it so your arms are bent. You’re trying to mimic the form you’d hold during a standard push-up.
Next, walk your feet back until you’re putting all your weight against the wall. Proceed as you would for a typical push-up by lowering yourself toward the wall and lifting yourself back up.
Want to change where you’re feeling the burn? Adjust your push-up by setting your arms higher, lower, farther apart, or closer together.
Without a doubt, some exercises are less obtrusive than others. If you have a standing desk, calf raises are among the easiest to try.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your heels so you’re standing on the balls of your feet. You’ll be able to feel how this sends your body weight into your calves.
As with squats, your calf raises should be slow and controlled. If you’re struggling with balance at first, place your hands on the edge of your desk or on the back of your chair. Make sure you don’t put any weight on your hands, though.
The Back Stretch
Back pain is the bane of every desk worker’s existence. Chances are that you’ve tried to modify your posture time and time again but everything seems to hurt your back.
A powerful stretch can relieve muscle tension and reduce some cases of back pain.
Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Place your left hand on your right hip and your right arm behind your back. Slowly turn toward the right. You can get more leverage and a deeper stretch if you press your left hand.
Hold this stretch for five seconds before you release it and repeat on your left side. Feel free to hold this stretch for a few extra seconds if necessary.
Working for Yourself
As an entrepreneur, you’ve already taken the plunge to become your own boss. If you aren’t working on your health, though, you won’t be able to enjoy your business’s success the way you want to.
The desk workouts above are easy to do while you’re waiting for a program to load or taking a mental break between tasks.
For more helpful ways to improve your career and your life, check out more articles on our blog of tips for entrepreneurs.