Not everyone has a luxurious job that allows you to lounge around and get paid during your siesta- some people have to buckle down, put on their big boy (or girl) pants and really grind out that 8-10 hour shift. Some jobs are physically demanding, like roofing and waiting tables; but desk jobs, if nothing else, widdle down your energy and leave you with nothing but emotional distress.
Instead of daydreaming about Miley Cyrus tearing down your cubicle with a wrecking ball, try a few exercises every now and again to get the blood flowing so you feel a little more alive.
- Don’t send your co-workers email chats or call them on the phone to deliver your messages; walk to their office instead.
- Don’t swivel and roll around in your chair; get up and file your papers or stand to grab the pen on the desk behind you.
- Don’t eat lunch at your desk; go walk around to the cafeteria or across the street to eat outside. Spend as little time as possible staring at your computer.
- Drink a lot of water; not only is it good for your health and necessary for bodily functions, but you’ll also need to frequently use the restroom- which requires you to get up and walk to the bathroom.
- Try a core ball instead of a chair. It will make you more conscientious of your posture and will make you move around a little more-because you can’t swivel and roll around your cubicle. If a core ball isn’t practical, there are chairs with wheels and back support that contain hold a core ball. Although it is no-where near as effective as a the core ball by itself, it is a much better alternative to a normal chair.
Here are a few quick exercises that you can discretely get away with doing on the job.
Isometric exercises are where you tense a muscle group as rigorously as you can for a few seconds, and then release the tension.
Isometric push/pull: pretend like you’re trying to push a heavy rock in front of you and tense your shoulders, chest, and triceps throughout the entire motion forward (which should last about 6-8 seconds). Once fully extended, contract your arms backward while flexing your biceps, rear deltoids, and back muscles (again, 6-8 seconds). Repeat this 3 or 4 times every hour or so.
Isometric leg extend/curl: start with your legs at a ninety-degree angle, and flex your quadriceps as hard as you can and straighten your leg outward for about 6-8 seconds. Then, curl your foot back down toward the floor and tense the hamstrings. Repeat this 3-4 times every hour.
Tensing and Flexing
Although this may seem odd, tensing and flexing can causes oxygen and fresh blood to circulate in a higher volume as a result of exerting energy. To make this a little less odd, this is exactly what you are doing when you yawn and stretch your arms out backward.
Periodically through your shift, try to tense up the muscles you are using the most during work for a few seconds and release the tension. For example, if most of your job is writing or typing, flex and stretch the forearm muscles every 10-15 minutes just to circulate some blood to avoid cramping and fatigue.
Neck circles are critical. Most people lean forward and stare at their computer screen in a way that jeopardizes the cervical portion of your spine, and other muscles in the neck. It is important to move your neck around in its full range of motion to lessen the damage you may be causing it. So, every 15-20 minutes, stretch the neck muscles by moving the head in a half circle clockwise, then counterclockwise. This stretch is exercised by putting your ear to your shoulder with enough tension that you feel a stretch, and circling around so that the other ear touches your other shoulder (and stretching the back of the neck by trying to touch your chin to your chest while passing through the half circle).
If you have a few minutes or some privacy in your desk space, try to stand up and do a few squats. Doing even five can be extremely refreshing if your leg muscles haven’t been engaged in a long time. Stretching the shoulders and triceps while sitting at work can be stimulating as well, and are fairly easy to conceal in the workplace. Any exercise that you can do, however minimal, every hour or so will definitely make the day go by faster and make you feel a little better about sitting in a chair for 8 hours of your day.
Even if you’re reading this, and it’s Monday, keep your chin up and grind out the day. The more exercise you can do at work, the happier you will be. Never have a case of the Mondays again!
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