In the last decade or so, research has been mounting to show that sitting in an uncomfortable office chair for six to sixteen hours a day is remarkably bad for you. Not only will a low-quality chair take its toll on your back, hips, and shoulders, but the sedentary lifestyle is more likely to lead to muscle deterioration, obesity, and heart disease. Fortunately, the solution is simple: Exercise. Many people are taking up something playfully called deskercising, the art of working out without actually getting up or interrupting your mental work. To help you stay healthy at work, here are six exercises you can do from the comfort of your chair.
1) Desk Chair Lifts
One of the best exercises you can do at your desk is simple lifts. One way to do lifts in your chair is to brace your hands on either side of your chair and lift yourself up. This will condition and tone your arm, shoulder, back, and core muscles. Hold yourself aloft for a count of five at first until you get comfortable with the exercise, then start increasing your count to ten seconds, then fifteen, and so on. Extending your legs straight in front of you under the desk will also work your lower back and thigh muscles as well.
2) Shoulder Roll
Most people who sit at a desk for too long suffer from overly tense shoulders and neck muscles. The best way to loose them, relax, and reduce some of the health risks of desk life is simply to roll your shoulders and flex your neck.
- Look from side to side, turning your neck 180 degrees or as close as you can.
- Lift one shoulder at a time up to an ear and then down again for five or ten lifts per set.
- Extend your arms as far out as you can and roll them to roll your shoulders.
- Hang your arms at your side, drop your head to relax your neck and roll your shoulders clockwise and counter-clockwise.
3) Cross Shoulder
Stretching out the muscles behind your shoulder blades is a great way to relax your shoulders and neck as well. Beyond simple rolling, you can gently pull your shoulders apart with a little cross-stretching. Extend one arm out in front of you and cross it over your body, keeping your elbow mostly straight. Hook your other arm over and pull toward you across your shoulders.
You can also extend one arm above your head then cross it behind your head. Use your other arm to pull your elbow down. Both of these exercises will feel very stretchy but your flexibility will improve with time.
4) Back Twist
Another exercise you can do from your chair is a twist. Turn back as if speaking to someone directly behind you and grasp the back of your chair. Use your chair to twist your back as far as you can, hold it for a count of five to ten seconds, and then release and twist the other direction.
5) Calf Lifts
One very subtle exercise you can do sitting or standing, or really anywhere, is the calf lift. To calf lift sitting down, sit with your knees together facing straight ahead and put your toes up on point. Slowly raise and lower your heels, keeping your calves and rear tight as you do so. Doing this standing up is exactly the same only you’re supporting more of your weight. This is not only great exercise, it’s also quite shaping for both your calves and glutes.
6) Desk Weights
Most people think of weightlifting as something you do at the gym and possibly on a bench or with a machine. However, small weights can give you a decent workout without requiring anything but room to move your arms. Get yourself five to eight-pound weights and lift them above your head starting with sets of ten to fifteen. This will help you build arm as well as leg strength and the little weights are great for toning.
If you’ve been uncomfortable or feeling unhealthy as a result of hours spent sitting at your desk. Now you can tackle desk exercise (or deskercise) like a pro and once you ‘feel the burn’, you can comfortably sit back and work while your muscles recover.