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5 exercises to do at your desk

If more members of your team are working remotely at the moment, they're likely to be using more uncomfortable equipment than they do in the office.

Help them stay active and avoid aches and pains by sharing these five desk exercises that can be done from their desks (or dining room tables) at home.

1. Leg Extensions

While sitting down, lift your legs alternatively until they’re straight out in front of you. Hold for as long as you are comfortable, then lower and lift the other leg. Repeat 10 times. Try counting how long you can keep your legs raised, and see if you can increase the time a little each day. Then lift one foot a few inches off the floor, keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees. Again, hold until it becomes uncomfortable then switch to the other leg.

2. Arm Extensions

Holding your arms straight, move them behind you and lift them up as far as you can, which will do wonders for tight shoulder muscles, then bring them forward, keeping the arm straight, until your hands meet. Make sure your shoulders don’t creep up around your ears whilst doing this exercise and try to maintain an upright posture throughout. Repeat 10 times.

3. Neck rotations

Relax your shoulders and lower your chin until it touches your chest and take a deep breath in while rotating your head very slowly clockwise. When your head is as far back as you can get it, slowly begin to exhale while circling your head back to rest your chin on your chest again. Do this 5 times clockwise, then 5 times anti-clockwise to relax and stretch tense neck muscles.

4. Back twists

Sit up straight and put your left hand on the small of your back, with your elbow bent. Twist to the left as far as you can comfortably. Change to the right side and repeat. Keep switching from side to side, and always move slowly and smoothly – don’t jerk or force yourself to twist further than is comfortable.

5. Punch the air

Punching the air above your head with both arms for intense 30-second bursts is a great way of releasing stress and getting your heart beating faster. Then repeat in front of you and to the sides and finish with 30 seconds overhead again.

Physiotherapist Shinu Varghese advocates moving around whenever possible. “Whatever position you adopt, don’t stay like it for more than 20 to 30 minutes. Constantly changing position uses all your muscles and all the systems in your body.”


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Here are some tips for moving more when you're working from home:

  • Instead of sitting for phone calls, stand up and walk around as you take them.

  • Don’t keep water on your desk, walk to the kitchen to get a drink whenever you feel thirsty.

  • Get active on your lunch break by going for a walk, run or doing a 20-minute YouTube workout


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