We all know we should do more exercise (yep, us too), but it can be tricky to factor it into your day. And with most of us – even those enjoying the perks of flexible working – being glued to a screen for most of the time, isn’t doing ourselves any favours. Being sedentary for long periods can have negative effects on your long-term health, so if you find yourself sitting for long periods, try these easy deskercises to boost your wellbeing.
De-stress by stretching
If you’re super-busy it’s likely that stress is affecting your posture, making you hunched over and tense. So use small movements to make big changes. Practice ‘belly breathing’ by closing your eyes, then breathing slowly through your nose and out through your mouth, noticing how your belly flattens as you do. Then fix your posture by simply squeezing your shoulder blades together, imagining that there’s a pencil being held between them. At the same time gently stretch and point your legs out. There – that’s better!
Doing a totally mind-numbing task? Spend those minutes wisely, by boosting your physical wellbeing. If you’re standing by a printer, do calf raises by standing on your tip-toes and lower back down. If you’re in front of your screen reading a lengthy document, try some ‘silent squeezes’ by squeezing your behind, holding it for up to 10 seconds then releasing. You’ll end up with a toned backside before you know it.
Get on your feet for focus
It won’t come as a huge surprise to hear that sitting slumped in the same position isn’t great for focus. Instead researchers have found standing up while working has loads of great benefits all round, including increased productivity, concentration, as well as improving blood flow and keeping energy levels higher. Businesses like Google and Facebook have already installed standing workstations for their employees, so why not experiment with putting your laptop up higher, and standing up to finish that next task?
Freshen up your outlook
Lacking inspiration for writing that big report or creating a new pitch? You can boost creativity with small deskercises, as research shows the chemicals generated by physical activity support more ‘divergent thinking’. Turn away from your computer, stand up, and place your hands on the desk. A few tricep dips will get the blood flowing, then stretch out your upper arms by lifting one arm and bending it towards your head. Use the other arm to gently pull your elbow towards the other shoulder.
If in doubt, be NEAT
Yep, this acronym stands for something dazzlingly confusing (that’ll be non-exercise activity thermogenesis), but in essence, it’s very simple. Just get up and move about. This could be anything from standing up to take a phone call, to going over to chat to a colleague, or even taking a few minutes to prep some food for dinner if you’re working from home. It’s all about small movements to keep your metabolism going and resist prolonged sitting sessions. Factor in ten minutes each hour to prevent ‘sitting disease’ (yes, it’s a real thing).