Five ways to get your body moving at work
Did you know that sitting still and not getting active can lead to an increased risk of some chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obesity?
Whilst in an ideal world we might all be balancing on a gym ball at our desks, stretching our legs regularly or breaking out into some squats in the middle of a meeting, it is not always possible or practical. Check out these tips for getting your body moving that may fit in to your working day more seamlessly - check with your doctor to ensure they are right for you.
1. Rubber bands
…but not the ones you'll find in your stationery cupboard (although these can be used to exercise your hands!). A physiotherapy resistance rubber band is a multipurpose, small, lightweight piece of equipment to carry around with you or leave at your desk. It can be used to exercise both arms and legs whether you are sitting or standing.
Put both feet through the band, so it is just above your ankles, anchor your left leg and lift the other leg slightly to the side, hold and replace - repeat on both legs.
2. Neck stretches
Do you start the day with a good posture but by the time it gets to the afternoon find yourself slumped with your nose far closer to your monitor than you began? This might feel like the most comfortable option but long-term it will make holding yourself up even more difficult. Lack of core strength and muscle tension can cause this poor posture.
The average human head weighs 4.5-5kg. However, as the head starts to creep forward, it puts significant strain on the neck, meaning the weight equates to much more.
One way to combat this is to sit up straight and tuck your chin in towards your neck slightly and hold for a few seconds. You can place your hands behind your head to provide support. This small stretch helps to elongate the muscle at the back of your neck.
As well as sitting up straight, regularly pull shoulders back and down - you should feel the tips of your shoulder blades moving down and together.
Keep your neck moving by turning to look over your left then right shoulder.
Why not put a note on your monitor to remind you to check your posture throughout the day?
It is easier to move from your desk if you have a purpose. Set yourself the target of walking the long way round to a colleague's desk, the bathroom, a meeting or to get to the canteen - this includes using the stairs! Don't forget that sitting down at lunchtime also counts towards your sedentary time - why not take a walk? It doesn't have to be a sunny day.
Opt for a standing desk to get more muscles working. Work your way up to it if you wish to use one for long periods - and remember to still keep moving!
4. Super Moving
Working from home or somewhere where you won't disturb the whole workplace? A quick hit of moderate to vigorous physical activity brings excellent benefits for the body and the mind including increased memory.
Have a go at one of the Super Movers Just for Fun routines - it will take less than five minutes of your time but the benefits will last much longer! Check out more routines here.
5. Using office furniture
Make the most of the furniture around you. Hold on to the edge of your seat whilst sitting and gently stretch your ear towards your shoulder - this provides an additional stretch. Or hold on to your desk and do some desk dips.
Check out Radio 1's Adele Roberts' demonstrating how to carry out lunges and desk dips in her health hacks.