Sitting still for long periods, as office workers do, can lead to extreme physical discomfort and long-term health ramifications. Non-ergonomic office furniture can exacerbate the problem by forcing the spine and shoulders into awkward postures. According to Psychology Today, extensive sitting can also contribute to chronic pain while impacting both neck and back health over time.
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational and Health Safety (Canada’s OSHA), sitting long hours reduces circulation, which leads to fatigue. Sedentary lifestyles also worsen cardiovascular health, cholesterol levels and blood sugar, according to WebMD.
There is good news however; both stretching and active exercises at work can prevent, and even reverse, such negative impacts. Virtually any form of exercise improves alertness and productivity while reducing health problems associated with seated work.
Here are six work-relieving exercises to help your team members improve posture and stay active throughout a long day at the office!
Stretching for Better Posture
1. Neck Circles
Gently bend your head forward and slowly move it from one side to the other. Remember to breathe through your movements. After 5 repetitions, lift your head and gently lean it back. Repeat the side to side movements, minding your comfort level with each movement.
2. Shoulder Raises
Sit up straight and look straight forward. Let your hands go slack at your sides. Lift and rotate your shoulders forward, circling around and resting on each repetition. Repeat four times. Then, reverse direction and gently roll your shoulders back four times, again resting in between each repetition.
3. Back Twists
Start in a seated position looking forward. Raise both of your arms vertically and place your feet firmly on the floor. As you lower your arms, gently rotate left in your chair and place your left hand on the top-back of the chair. Rotate your head toward the wall behind you. Only go as far as comfort permits. Hold the stretch for 8-10 seconds and return to center. Repeat on the right side.
Stretching Your Leg Muscles in the Workplace
4. Leg Raises
Push back from your desk enough to extend your legs straight ahead. Sit up straight and face forward. Brace yourself in your chair with your arms at your side. Then, do either of these variations of the leg raise.
Extend one leg straight forward until it is parallel with the floor. Hold for 10 seconds, then switch legs.
Extend both legs straight forward until parallel with the floor. Lower them slowly until almost touching the floor. Hold the position as long as you are comfortable, then bring your legs to the ground.
5. Foot Taps
Sit straight ahead with your feet in full contact with the floor. Quickly raise and lower your feet as if sprinting in place while the rest of your body remains still. Continue foot taps for 30 seconds, rest and then repeat.
6. Chair Dip
Sit in a chair that will stay in place if pushed. Grasping the chair on either side of your torso, position yourself at the edge of your chair’s seat. Slide down toward the floor while your legs extend straight out in front of you with your heels touching the ground. Your body should make a 45-degree angle with the floor. Now lift yourself with your arms, like doing a backwards push-up. Lower yourself back down to the starting position and repeat 10-15 times.
At We’ve Got Your Back, we specialize in creating active, ergonomic work spaces. Contact us with any questions on improving your workplace environment for your staff!