We’re not advocating that you stand up all day while working in your office, but getting up occasionally and performing a few simple exercises, will help you maintain that “just got to work” energy and attitude. Blood circulation is very important for your legs, and these tips may also help you when you’re on a long flight, as well as in the office. Just make sure your legs don’t go tingly or numb, and you’ll get through the day without feeling tired or sick.
1) Remember your posture! Our mothers used to tell us that every day. If you find yourself slumping, you’ll get fatigued early in the day and end it with a sore back, to boot. Sitting upright (but not like you have a two by four attached to your back) will keep your vertebrae uncompressed and able to support your back without pain (from slouching or sitting too long). Adjust your computer monitor until you’re looking straight at it and not craning your neck up or down.
2) Give one ear at a time some much-needed rest. If your earlobes start to numb up and feel hot, then change that headphone set to the other one. You can get sore shoulders and headaches from too-tight headphones clamped to your ears. Also, one of those light one-ear sets may work better for you.
3) Change your desk goodies around now and then. If you reach for things in the same place every time your body can get tired. Give it some stimulation occasionally. Don’t overextend your muscles or they’ll get strained and then sore the next day.
4) Give your wrists mini-exercises several times a day by circling them and stretching your hands. Carpal tunnel syndrome may be avoided if you do this.
5) Move around the office for a few minutes as often as you can, and outside is even better. Breathe deeply for a few seconds. The latter is not a good idea if you’re next to a tire burning site, or some other polluter. Keep hydrated and you won’t feel faint if you have to get up suddenly.
6) Stretch your neck and back and arms and legs every now and then. Stretching is how dancers and athletes warm up and it prevents muscle cramps later. Prolonged sitting in your office chair can be tedious anyway, so stretch and imagine yourself on the stage at the Bolshoi Ballet, or slam dunking on the basketball court.
7) Shrug your shoulders several times. This feels good to stretch out those hard to reach upper back muscles. Take in a few deep breaths and try and hike your shoulders towards your ears. This may sound funny, but it works. Repeat several times.
8) Stretch out your backbone! Sit upright in your chair and clasp your hands behind your head like you are deep in thought. This exercise is great if your boss tends to wander by and then they’ll think you are deep in thought about the next great invention for the company. Exhale then twist to one side and look behind you. Don’t strain yourself. Inhale, return to the front, then do the other side and repeat several times.
9) Loll your head, but in a controlled manner. Drop your chin to your chest as you exhale. Put your right ear on your shoulder, or at least, as close as you can get to it. Exhale then inhale and do the other side. Do this for several minutes.
10) Stay as active as you can and you’ll still have some energy left as you skip out the door at the end of the day. Breathe in deeply with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Inhale deeply several times as you stay relaxed.
11) Something called a rotating squat works well for stretching out your back and legs. Clutch your desk front and squat, then rotate your hips. Be careful, as you don’t want to tip over. Tighten your butt, one side then the other, as you stand back up. Do this about 20 times if you can.
12) If you get an hour for lunch then go for brisk walk in the fresh air. You can also skate around a park if you have rollerblades. Don’t forget the helmet and elbow and knee pads.
You’ve heard this one before but I will repeat it because it is important — drink lots of water throughout the day and try and eat nutritious snacks, prefer fruit and vegetables, organic as much as possible, to processed foods. If all they have in the snack machine is doughnuts and candy bars, then pass on by and bring your own from home. Of course, if you work at home then that won’t be a problem! Keep healthy and at peace, in whatever you do.