A pillar of orthopedics and sports medicine is the understanding of the importance of regular physical activity. This can be difficult for us adults in the working world who are quite often found sitting (or standing) behind a desk, staring at some sort of screen setup. The National Institutes of Health has reported that 80% of us have sedentary jobs, so finding ways to improve movement while at work is a necessity, given the long hours we spend “at the office.” In the following article, we present eight exercises1 you can incorporate into your workday.
1. Raise the Roof
Marching in place, push towards the ceiling with your palms up and thumbs almost touching your shoulders. To increase difficulty, hold water bottles in each hand. This exercise aids in dusting off stiffness and activating your upper body muscles.
2. Triceps Kick
This involves marching in place and bending at the hips about 45 degrees. Bend your elbows, then extend them behind you as if you are lifting weights. This exercise loosens your upper body, providing relief from prolonged typing or writing.
3. The Hulk
Continue marching and leaning, with your elbows bent and fists together in front. Move your arms back like wings, trying to touch your shoulder blades together. This exercise helps stretch your upper body, reducing tension and stiffness.
4. Hamstring Curl
Bend your arms at the elbow. Bring one foot up toward your rear end while straightening your arms so that your hands are down when your foot is up. This subtle exercise prevents stiffness in your lower body without drawing much attention.
5. Knee Lift
Similar to hamstring curls, lift your knee up in front as your arms go down. This exercise activates the hip flexors and quadriceps, which are essential for maintaining lower body strength.
6. Desk Pushup
Place your hands on the edge of your desk, shoulder-width apart, with your legs out behind you. Push off with as much force as you can. This exercise engages your upper body and core without needing to leave your workstation.
7. Chair Dips
With your legs out in front of you, grab the edge of a chair (or desk) and lift yourself down and back up. Be cautious if your chair has wheels! This exercise is a discreet way to work your triceps.
Take a lap around your office or block, aiming for a pace of 100 steps per minute. Walking is a simple yet effective exercise that keeps your body active and mind refreshed.
Remember, integrating these exercises into your work routine promotes physical health and enhances mental well-being and productivity. So why wait? The exercises mentioned above are just a start, and, by all means, if you have ideas of your own, incorporate them into your own day-to-day (and share them with your coworkers, family, and friends). If you need any further ideas, visit the link below to an excellent resource from The Washington Post (which we borrowed from as a guide). They even have animated gifs to showcase proper movement and rate the exercises based on difficulty, how much they make you sweat, and how humiliating they are in the context of your working environment!