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Friday Fitness: Office Fit – 7 Exercises to Do at Your Desk

During the week, how much of your time  is spent sitting?

The answer is probably too much.

For some, getting up early to work out or trying to find the time after work, with family or household commitments, is challenging. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually get some of your workout in during the day at your desk and leave more time after work for family or other activities? These exercises won’t take the place of a regular cardio or strength training program but they will help to keep muscles toned and relaxed. Here are 7 exercises that can be done right at your desk with no equipment needed.

1. Shoulder circles – to relieve stress that can result from hunching over your keyboard:

Sitting tall, roll shoulders up by the ears and slide the shoulder blades down your back 10-12 times.  Then do the same with a forward motion, trying to open the space between your shoulder blades.

2. Knee raises – to tone your thighs and stabilize your core:

Pull knees up to your chest, alternating legs.  Try to pull up with the quadriceps and stay sitting tall to keep the core muscles activated.

3. Leg extensions – to strengthen thighs and stretch hip flexors:

Sitting in your chair, keep knee bent and raise your right foot up a few inches from the floor. Extend the leg straight out in front of you, thigh in line with your hip. Return to start for one repetition.  Aim for 10-12 on your right leg and repeat with your left leg for one set.

4. Tricep dips – (in your chair) to strengthen the back of the arms:

Put your hands on the arm rests of your chair and raise your body up and off the seat, pushing through the backs of your arms. Raise and lower without coming all the way down to a seated position for one repetition. Repeat 10-12 times for one set.

5. Knee to elbows – alternating side to side to work the obliques:

Sitting tall, rotate to the right side and bring your left elbow toward your right knee. Rotate to the other side bringing your right elbow towards your left knee for one repetition.   Aim for 10-12 repetitions on each side for one set.

6. Spinal stretch:  to alleviate back tightness and enhance spinal flexibility.

Sitting tall in your chair, rotate to the right by lightly placing your hands on the right arm or the back of your chair. Then turn to look over your right shoulder, keeping shoulders down and relaxed while rotating through the waist.

7. Neck and ankle circles:  to enhance ankle and neck mobility and alleviate tightness.

Sitting tall with your shoulders relaxed, slowly rotate the head all the way around 10 times and repeat in the other direction. The same can be done with the ankles, keeping the foot and ankle relaxed.

Extra Office Fit Tip: Try to walk around every two hours or so to not only get more steps in but prevent blood pooling in the lower extremities and be sure to keep hydrated during the day. Just these few changes and exercises can keep you happier and healthier at work.