Workout at work

Last Updated 20 June 2014, 15:22 IST

You can no longer complain that there’s no time to exercise. All it takes is a little planning and some inspiration. Kiran Sawhney teaches you how to workout right at your desk.

Nothing beats adequate sleep, frequent exercise and a balanced diet to keep your mind and body alert throughout the day. However, majority of us are trapped at our desks for at least eight hours a day, and we have to resort to the most curious methods to  combat workplace health hazards.

Because we know that desk-bound workers suffer from a variety of health problems connected to poorly designed office space and ignorance of simple ergonomics.

Desk jobs make us suffer from common ailments such as myopia, from prolonged close-screen work, as well as painful conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Many of us spend hours seated in uncomfortable chairs, or cram ourselves in the same space for too long.

These poor work habits give rise to bad posture and back problems, due to compression of the spine in the same position for extended periods.

Apart from physical problems, mental fatigue also sets in during a long haul in front of the computer.

Wouldn’t we all love to have a job that allows us to be active and healthy? Well, we can no longer afford to complain that it's hard to find time to exercise. All it takes is a little planning and some inspiration, and we can easily squeeze in simple exercises throughout our day at work:

* Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair. This will strengthen your abs and back and you'll work on your posture, without even trying.

*Set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to stand up and move around. Even if you just swing your arms or take a deep breath, you'll feel more alert.

* Use the restroom on another floor, and take the stairs to go there.

*Use a pedometer and keep track of how many steps you take. Aim for 6,000 to 10,000 steps a day.

* Leave something important in your car (your lunch, briefcase, laptop), so that you will have to run out to get it. Again, take the stairs.

* Go to the mall for lunch and park your car or bike on the opposite end of the road. Also, don't forget to buy healthy food.

* Get a headset for your phone so you can move around while you talk.
Be creative. Any movement is better than none; you don't need to do sprints all day long. Adding short bouts of exercise throughout the day will help you burn more calories and will also reduce stress, so you can easily smile at your boss when s/he piles more work on you. All you need is your office chair, one which doesn't roll!

* For your triceps, place your chair behind you and prop yourself up by
gripping the chair with your hands and lifting yourself off the ground,
with your legs straight out. Bend and straighten your arms at a 90-degree angle. Congrats, you've just done bench dips.

*Sitting on your chair, do single leg raises to target your quadriceps (front of thighs). Do it 20 times with each leg.

*Place one foot on top of the other leg’s knee and bend forward to stretch your hip muscles.

*Stretch, by rounding your back. It helps you to relax your spine.

* Grab the back of your chair, and turn around to look back across your shoulders.
This spinal rotation should be done slowly and carefully, on both sides, to stretch your back.

* While on your chair, straighten one leg forward and bend forward to grab your toe. You will experience a very relieving hamstring (back of thigh) stretch. Tight hamstring muscles are also a cause for backaches.

* Sitting in a position for a long time? Relax your muscles by raising one leg up, one at a time, towards your chest. You will no longer feel sore or tired. It can be done even while driving: at signals, when the light goes red. Give it a shot and you will reach your home refreshed after a long day’s work.

(Published 20 June 2014, 15:22 IST)

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