If you get tight and tense working behind your desk, we’ve got a solution for you. Simple stretching exercises and a few well-placed aerobics can help keep you loose and focused. Here, we present two sets of exercises to keep you going throughout the day. And who knows, maybe a co-worker or two will be impressed by your healthy example and join in. Read on.
Tension Busting Stretching Exercises
Muscles can clench up when you’re sitting behind a desk for extended periods. Try these exercises to uncurl your muscles and relieve stress:
1. To stretch all the way from your arms to your butt:
Sit tall in your chair and stretch both arms above your head. As they used to say in the old Westerns, “reach for the sky!” Count 10 seconds, and then extend the right hand a little higher than the left. Follow that up by stretching the left hand in the same way.
2. To stretch your neck:
Sit with your head upright and slowly turn it as far as comfortable to the right and hold. Then turn slowly to the left and hold. Next, gently let your head fall toward your chest and hold. Caution: Your head weighs a whopping 10 pounds, so avoid tilting it backward, as this can put too much stress on your upper spine.
3. To stretch your upper back muscles:
Sit upright as if you have a string going through the top of your head pulling you up. Bring your right arm across your upper body at shoulder level, making sure to slightly flex your elbow. With your left hand, grasp your right arm a little bit above the elbow. Then pull your right arm gently across your chest toward the left and hold. Keep your shoulders level and relaxed. Repeat using your left arm to cross your body.
4. To stretch out your shoulders:
Try shoulder rolls. Do this by simply rolling your shoulders forward, and then rolling them back. All by itself, this is a really great way to relax.
5. If tension is really getting to you, try this yoga move:
Sit, face forward and turn your head to the left and your torso to the right. Hold this posture for a few seconds. Now do the same on the left side. Repeat this move 15 times, alternating sides.
Keep Moving and Stay Focused
Feeling blah, or just plain tired? Find a few minutes each day and treat yourself. Try these aerobic exercises meant to get your heart pumping and your mind clear:
1. Got a minute between calls? Watch the clock as you rip off as many jumping jacks as you can in a minute.
2. If you’ve got an empty conference room, you can zip around the room a few times as fast as you can.
3. When you get another 60 seconds, zip back into the conference room and do some walk-lunges. They’re great for your thighs as well as your mind.
4. Pretend your jumping rope. You can go for both feet hitting the floor at once, or alternating hopping on each foot—whatever you’re best at. This exercise is easier if you also include the arm motions of turning a rope.
5. Finally, run in place (knees up!) for one full minute. After you catch your breath, you’ll find your mind cleared and your body relaxed.