https://e-pa.com/blog/missing-a-call-is-like-letting-a-customer-leave-your-shop/https://e-pa.com/blog/live-help-chat-answering/Latest studies indicate that over 20 million people in the UK are physically inactive but, with no easy solution and rates of obesity rising fast, the discussions have turned to how workers and businesses can incorporate exercise into a regular part of the working day.
A few weeks ago, we published a blog entry that highlighted some of the ways workers could incorporate exercise into their daily routine (if you missed it, you can that out, HERE). Given that a large number of our clients are office-based, and that we are on a real mission to educate businesses on improving health and well-being in the workplace, we thought it worth using our e-PA: Work-Life Balance blog to take a closer look at one of the key points, ‘Deskercise’, along with ways in which you can integrate it into everyday business-related activities (thus, reducing wasted time), and the benefits it can bring to you, your staff, and the overall health of your business.
“Exercise in the office isn’t a new idea. But it’s such a clear win-win – in terms of health, morale and productivity,” (Ryan Holmes, the CEO of HootSuite, a social media platform)
Naturally, the rise in remote working (from home, etc.), due to the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the development in online social and meeting technology, and the fact that the world is better connected, without ever needing to leave the comfort of their own screens, has led to a more sedentary lifestyle, than ever before. The British Heart Foundation also warns that the number of Britons leading an inactive lifestyle significantly increases the risk of heart disease, and costs the NHS over £1.2 billion, annually and, according to the Mayo Clinic, more than 4 hours a day of screen time can also increase your risk of death by any cause by up to 50%.
The great news is that moving or stretching is a buildable habit. As a start, you can set a timer to remind you to take a quick walk or stretch. If you’re pressed for time, there are even certain stretches you can do at your desk.
Deskercise = Desk + Exercise
This is a popular trend, that has been evolving for a number of years. It includes short bouts of aerobics, strength exercises, and stretching, at your desk or workspace, that can help improve fitness levels and heart health.
Sitting Still at Your Desk is Causing you Physical Pain!
I know, it’s hard to imagine, as common workplace injuries, such as back pain or neck/shoulder issues, are usually associated with heavy-lifting and the like, but work-related disorders aren’t just limited to heavy manufacturing, warehouse or construction jobs. They can occur in all types of industries and work environments, including office spaces. Research shows that repetitive motion, poor posture, and staying in the same position, which are all indicative of a desk/office job, can worsen, or even cause, musculoskeletal disorders.
The habits we build at our desk, especially while sitting, can contribute to discomfort and health issues, including:
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Lower back pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
While deskercise won’t promise Olympic records or six-pack abs, it just might improve strength and burn a few extra calories to boot.
Ok, you’re in… So, where can you start? Here’s a few ideas, to get you going:
Start by Stretching Your Body
You can do a plethora of stretches while sitting down at your desk or while you are waiting for a cup of coffee at the vending machine. Let’s start with the body stretch first. Stand tall and reach both your hands over your head towards the ceiling, lift your chin up, tilt your head back and keep your back straight. Take a deep breath and feel the stretch. Breathe out slowly coming back to the normal position. You can try this sitting at your desk – an overhead stretch if you don’t want to get noticed while doing it.
Don’t Forget to Work-out Those Fingers
You often forget, given that you are using them to type all day, that your fingers are super important and need looking after. Stretch those wrists and fingers by taking your arm out in front of you. Keep the palm up and stretch the fingers with the other hand, pulling them towards yourself. For arms and shoulders, try reaching your arms behind you, lift them up and interlock your fingers. Feel the stretch in your arms, shoulders, elbows and fingers. Work these stretches in your schedule at regular intervals, for instance 5 stretches in a day of one minute each. That sounds like an idea!
Shrug Your Shoulders
Apart from client meetings, you can do a shoulder shrug practically anywhere in your office. Take a deep breath and bring your shoulders up towards your ears. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Shrugging is the most effective and buildable form of deskercise, as it doesn’t involve getting up from your seat. Also rolling both shoulders forward and backward in a circular motion helps increase flexibility and add strength. Neck rolls or simply shaking your head like you are saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, can help you feel less stressed for the remainder of the day.
Try the ‘Wooden Leg’ Technique
Put your leg out straight in front of you, while sitting and hold it there for five seconds. Feel the stretch in your knees and thighs. Try raising up a little higher and then bring it back to normal. Repeat this exercise about 5 times as and when you find time throughout the day. Leg extensions like occasional calf lift and ankle stretch improve your core body strength.
Keep Your Back Healthy with Torso Twists
Stand up from that chair you have been warming up all day. Place your hands around your waist and turn your torso towards the right and repeat the same with the other side. Do it 5 times, to get that stress out of your spine. While sitting, keep your feet firmly on the ground. Turn right to grab the back of your chair (if not the back, try reaching the opposite arm of your chair) and hold the pose for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Your Water Bottle Makes a Great Dumbbell
Who needs a dumbbell when you have a full water bottle right there at your desk? Hold the water bottle tight in one hand and to curl it up towards your shoulder and bring it back to normal. Repeat the same with the other hand. Use it as a weight for front raises and overhead presses.
Don’t Leave Those Legs Out
Slowly walking up and down stairs and skipping the elevator once in a while is one of the best ways to do some cardio exercise. Other ways to add movement to your day are going the long way for attending a meeting, substituting walks for emails, parking a little bit farther away from your office block and, if possible, using the bathroom that’s across the building instead of the one that’s by your desk.
Stress Ball Squeeze
This is a bit of an old way to relax those hands and forearms but a very good way to increase productivity and bust work stress. This squeeze-and-release exercise helps release tension, boosts blood circulation and eventually combats stress at work. Many organisations offer free stress balls along with many other workplace wellness gifts to employees during the health and well-being week every year.
Sitting Straight is an Exercise in Itself
Sitting for too long is bad enough, but sitting in a wrong posture is worse. We can eliminate problems like back pains and stiff necks, just by sitting properly. The sooner we get rid of the wrong sitting postures, the rounded backs and the slouching heads, the better it is for us. Sit correctly on your sit bones with pelvic support. Keep your lower back pressed against the back of your chair. It will distribute your body weight evenly and save your spine.
Organise Standing Meetings
Standing is not really a workout but it’s better than sitting in terms of increased physical movement and daily caloric expenditure. Get up from your chair as often as your work allows. Arrange standing meetings or do a walk-and-talk session once in a while. There are a lot of organisations that are beginning to offer optional standing workstations to employees to get rid of the desk culture. Studies show that standing lowers the risk of health issues like backache, weight gain, diabetes and heart attack.
Even adopting one of these subtle workouts at your desk will slowly but surely bring a positive change in your physical and mental health. Craning over your keyboards for long hours is neither going to boost your productivity nor is it beneficial for the organisation you work for. If you are overloaded with work, set a timer to remind you to take a break. Make these deskercises an integral part of your daily routine, but don’t do things beyond your capacity or more than your health allows.
For all things business support, or if you want to improve your customer services, get in touch with us at e-PA, where our expert team of professionals are ready to help you take things to the next level, and ensure you capture every opportunity for your business.
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