In the past we have discussed the risks associated to sitting stationary at a desk for prolonged periods of time at work. While there is little we can do to completely avoid these situations as well as plenty of options for treating the side effects (for example, regular chiropractic visits and massage therapy), there are also plenty of ways to help prevent these issues. Here are some simple yet effective stretches and exercises for desk workers that we can all do to stay active and limber while at work.

Switch Your Chair for an Exercise Ball

While they might seems a bit out of place in an office setting, exercise balls are somewhat of a staple in the tech companies and startups here in San Francisco. An exercise ball provides a seat that one must work to keep stable, which means the muscles in back, leg and core muscle groups must work to keep you from falling over. It’s an excellent way to keep your body active during the day.

Simply Stand Up!

Taking a few minutes every half hour or so to simply get on your feet and out of the chair does wonders for the body. Anything that breaks up the sedentary nature of deskwork goes along way.

Leg Extensions

Leg extensions are a great way to work your abs and legs and can be done quite easily while sitting in your chair. All you need to do is extend your legs straight out, engaging your abs and quads, hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Knocking out 5-10 of these ever hour or so provides an excellent way to keep your legs working throughout the day.

Give Yourself a Hug

Staying hunched over a keyboard typing all day can cause us to maintain squeezed shoulder blades, which can cause significant neck and upper back tension. To combat this, wrap your arms around yourself like you are giving yourself a big hug and breath in and out. This technique releases the tension and keeps your upper back nice as loose.

Knee to Chest Back Stretch

To get a great stretch for your back, position yourself at the edge of your seat with your feet square on the floor. With your feet still on the floor, bend over until your chest is on your knees. Then simple let your arms hang loose at your side for an awesome full backstretch. For a deeper stretch, try touching your chin to your chest while your chest is at your knees. Hold for 30-45 seconds every hour or so to keep your back nice a loose.

Have your own suggestions for stretching routines or exercises for desk workers? Chime in using the comments form below!

[Image Credit: JoePingleton / DeviantArt]

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