Stiff neck, back and wrist pain, poor circulation—these are just some of the health hazards that can come with having an office job. It doesn't have to be that way. There are simple exercises you can do at work that don't take much time and also help you stay fit.
Sitting for long stretches of time every day, especially at a computer, can take a toll on your body. Add to that poor posture, stress, and a work station that doesn't work for you, and it's no wonder you're feeling aches and pains at the end of the day.
Human bodies are made to move. That's why working "mini" activity breaks into your day can really make a difference in how you feel and even how well you perform your job. Even the busiest person can do it. Just five minutes of movement every hour or two can boost your energy and improve your attitude. You'll find that getting your blood pumping and oxygen circulating will help you concentrate better and be more productive, calm, and efficient.
So why not de-stress, re-energize, jumpstart your brain, and work the kinks out of your body, each and every day? Here's how:
Stretch. Stretching can relieve stress and make you feel better all over. You can stretch right in your desk chair, or close your office door and sit on the floor or use the wall. Why not start by getting out of your chair and touching your toes?
Yogacize. Web sites and books can show you yoga moves and poses to do at your desk or on the floor in your office. Instead of a snack or coffee break, take a yoga break!
Strength train. You can easily store soup cans, water bottles, a resistance band, or small hand weights in your desk or office and do a few sets between meetings or telephone calls.
Do some quick cardio. Squeeze in a few rounds of jump rope or 10 quick pushups or sit ups. You also can climb stairs during your workday and take brisk walks in or outside your building during lunch. Every little bit helps.
Lift and rotate. Try some simple leg lifts, even while you're on the phone or reading emails or memos. Keep one foot planted on the floor and raise the opposite leg several inches off the ground. Gently pulse the leg upward a few inches 10 or 20 times and repeat on the opposite leg. You also can rotate each foot around in small circles (in both directions). Do the same with your arms: hold your arms out straight on each side of your body and make small circles with your hands.
Breathe and meditate. Close and rest your eyes while breathing deeply, meditating for five minutes or picturing yourself in a favorite place, like the beach or mountains.
Your Work Environment
Since many of us spend so much time at work, it makes sense to take care of our bodies while we're there. Besides being mindful of moving as much as you can, make sure your work environment is suited to your needs.
For instance, are your computer screen and keyboard at the right height for your eyes and hands? Do you have a comfortable chair with enough back support? Is there proper lighting with no glare?
Talk to your manager or human resources director if you need to make changes to improve your comfort and prevent problems like wrist and eye strain. With all the pressure and stress of today's workplaces, it's more important than ever that you take good care of yourself on the job.