• Molly Doucette

Quick 'Desk-ercizes' to Stay Healthy at Work

Our six favorite exercizes you can do at your desk without your coworkers wondering what's going on in the next cubicle.

The World Health Organization ranks physical inactivity as one of the largest health risk factors. It is estimated that Canadians spend an average of ten or more hours per day sitting (Get Canada Standing), and for office workers, this number can be even higher. Research shows that sitting for more than four hours a day can contribute to a variety of increased health risks, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer (Get Canada Standing, 2019).

So what’s a busy office employee to do? For starters, you can work on spending a few minutes of every hour away from your workstation. Even a walk around your office floor can help to get the blood flowing in your body and helps you to renew your focus to your work. But what else can be done to combat aching muscles in your back, shoulders and neck gained from staring into the depths of your computer screen?

That’s where a little desk-ercize comes in. For this week’s #WellnessWednesday, we wanted to give you some quick exercizes and stretches you can perform at your desk to help break up the long stretches of time you spend working at your desk. And don’t worry – no jumping jacks involved! We kept these subtle, so your coworkers aren’t wondering why there’s a jazzercise class taking place in the next cubical over.

With that said, here are six exercises to keep you limber for the day ahead.

Neck Rolls

With your shoulders held down and back, begin to roll your head slowly to the right, then down and around in a circle. Repeat 10 times, then roll to the other side.

Shoulder Stretch

With arms outstretched in front of you, clasp your hands with palms facing outwards, then rotate your arms and shoulders until your arms are stretched above your head, hands still clasped. Push your hands toward the ceiling and hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths.

Shoulder Rolls

Push your shoulders forward, then upward toward your ears, then backward, then down in a fluid motion. Repeat 5 times rolling forward, then five times rolling backwards.

Chest Stretch

Push your shoulders back, then interlace your fingers behind your lower back. Push your chest forward and raise your chin slightly to stretch your chest muscles. Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths.

Torso Twist

Plant your feet firmly on the floor, about hip-width apart. Place your left hand on the outside of your right knee, and your right hand on the back or arm of your chair. Exhale and turn your upper body toward the arm or back of your chair, using your left hand to press against your leg for leverage. Hold for 2 to 3 deep breaths, then unwind and repeat on the other side.

Wrist and Finger Stretch

Stand and place your hands palm-down on the desk with your fingertips facing back towards your body. Lean forward to deepen the stretch. Hold for several breaths or until you feel the tension in your forearms release.

Looking for a way to support healthy employees?

Saskatchewan Blue Cross offers Wellness Spending Accounts (WSA) as a way to help offset the costs of a gym membership, weight and nutritional counselling, recreation and leisure expenses, and many others. Call us today at 1-800-USEBLUE® or talk to your Broker about adding a WSA to your Group Benefits Plan.

Thanks to SnackNation for these demonstration gifs! You can read about more office exercizes in their article here.

Learn more about Get Canada Standing.