Sitting and working in the office all day can lead to posture-related troubles. Desktop exercises are a great way to keep health hazards at bay. – By Nitika Bajpayee Jha
Fitness revolution has taken the world by stride. To stay healthy, working men and women look up to fancy gyms and undertake an array of good health practices such as yoga, aerobics, pilates, kick boxing, swimming, cycling and anything that promises them to stay fit and lean. For the urban population, a considerable part of an average day is spent in the chair at their workplace. During a typical workday, the muscles of the abdomen, the back, legs and the arms are rarely worked upon. Sitting all day at a desk can actually lead to severe health hazards such as weight gain, stiffness in the neck and shoulder area, acidity, back pain – the list is endless.
Be office ready:
Many corporate houses are now realising the need to keep their work staff healthy and in good shape. “Companies now are incorporating proper gyms with high-end workout machines and professional trainers for their employees. Since regular exercise increases energy levels and improves productivity, companies are now focussing on allowing employees to flex their muscles on a daily basis,” says Dr Bipin Walia, senior consultant, neurological surgery and head, spinal Surgery at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Delhi.
These days, the corporate gyms are bulked up with all the high-tech machines such as treadmills, steppers and elliptical trainers. In case your office does not provide you all the professional gym equipment, you can still exercise at your workplace. There are many exercises that can be done in an office cubicle, the staircase that leads you up to your office building, and even in the cafeteria. These exercises not only promote good health, burn calories, but also keep the blood circulation in check.
With simple stretching exercises, you can strengthen your body, all within the comfort of your office chair. The workout doesn’t alter the traditional strength training, but offers you a way to keep your blood moving even if you can’t get away from your desk for hours.
“Incorrect posture is one of the major problems faced by the working population in our country. This is of grave concern as it is victimising people today. People don’t give much heed to the importance of maintaining correct posture. Wrong posture may act as a catalyst to some serious ailments such as pain in the shoulder and the back area,” asserts Dr Walia. People usually take pain in the shoulder and back areas as lightly and continue to ignore it, making way for a deadly menace.
However, correct posture combined with certain breathing techniques can induce relaxation and create a balance for righteous living.
“The correct sitting posture is one with an adequate lumbar support, thighs parallel to the ground and feet square on the ground. A person sitting at the workstation must have adequate thigh support – a minimum of two-thirds the thigh length. Every two hours, one should get up and take a walk. Doing simple stretches and leg exercises can help in preventing Deep Venous Thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots form in a vein deep inside the body,” – says Dr Walia.
Office workout is a perfect idea for the busy bees. For many of us, it can get difficult to make time to go the gym and get enrolled in a good workout. And if you have been thinking just because you spend all day long at your workplace you don’t need to exercise, listen to your body. By doing a combination of exercises, you can relax your body and keep stiffness away.
“While in office, you can try squatting. For this, you simply need to stand in front of your office chair. Your feet should be shoulder width apart. Bend your knees just like you are sitting on a chair, keeping your weight on the heels. As your legs are parallel with the seat of the chair, slowly rise to your original standing position. This exercise will strengthen your leg and thigh muscles,” says Dr Walia.
During lunchtime, you can try calf raises. For this exercise, you will have to hold onto your desk or a file cabinet for balance. Slowly raise your heels off the floor and then come back to the normal position. This exercise is perfect for relieving the tension off the calf muscles. Sitting for long hours can build tension in the shoulder area. Try shoulder raises to release tension. Simply raise your shoulders up to your ears. Hold for 10 seconds and relax.
Typing throughout the day takes a toll on the wrists. To avoid tension building up in the wrist area, stretches are a good idea. To do a wrist stretch, you will have to extend arm in front with palm facing up. Grab the fingers with other hand and gently pull the fingers towards you to stretch the forearm, holding for 20 to 30 seconds. To sooth forearms, press hands together in front of your chest, elbows bent and parallel to the floor. Gently bend wrists to the right and left for 10 repetitions.
As you take break from work, peek into your neighbour’s cubical while you do toe raises. Sitting in your chair or standing, lift and lower your toes while keeping your heels on the ground, or walk around on the heels of your feet. Combined with essential relaxation exercises, you can also try some breathing exercises. Meditation is a simple way of working close with one’s mind. Following concentration and connecting with mind, meditation deeply relaxes and calms the mind and reduces the feeling pertaining to depression, anxiety, fear and pain. You could try a simple pranayam – a breathing exercise and bring down the stress and hypertension levels.
Work it out:
Lower Back Stretch Sit tall and place your left arm behind the left hip. Now gently twist to the left using the right hand to deepen the stretch. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Leg Extension Sit tall with the abs in and extend the left leg until it comes to the level of the hip, squeezing the quadriceps. Hold on for two seconds and then relax. Repeat it for 16 times. Then repeat with the opposite side.
Inner Thigh Place towel, firm water bottle or an empty coffee mug between the knees as you sit up tall with the abs in. Now, squeeze the bottle or the cup, release halfway and squeeze again. Repeat 16 times.