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Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk

I’ve received a lot of questions from you, asking “Frederic, I work behind a desk all day. I love my job, but I feel so stiff and out of shape by the end of the day. What can I do to offset sitting 8 hours a day?”

I’ve got some great exercises you can do right at your desk that will have you feeling better and staying more flexible, so no excuses! Also, take a look at some other products that I offer to get you on the road to fitness and health

Now, here’s my 3-part daily plan for you:

1. Stand up!!

At least every hour, you should at least just stand up. Reach your arms in the air, and get on your tippy toes, trying to elongate yourself as much as possible. Then, come back down on flat feet and reach your right arm up as high as possible and slowly bend over to your left side. Come back up straight, then reach your left arm up as high as possible and slowly bend to the right side. Shake everything out, and slowly bend forward, letting your arms dangle down. Don’t worry about keeping your knees straight or being able to touch the floor, that will come with time. Just use this time to get the blood flowing. Be sure you’re letting your neck relax and hang loose. Shake your head “yes” and “no” and let it release. Slowly, come back up to standing.

Do this at least every hour. It does not take a lot of time, and you will soon feel much better.

2. Relax your neck

Those of you working at a desk all day, probably on the computer most of the time, probably hold a lot of tension in your neck. It’s really important to try to ease that tightness. First, while working, try hard to keep your shoulders down and your back straight (good posture means a lot for easing tensions and also for good digestion!). Be sure your chair is at the right height so that you can comfortably have your feet flat on the floor and your arms parallel to your keyboard.

Here’s an exercise specifically for your neck: either standing or sitting, drape your right arm over your head and touch your left ear. Slowly lean your head towards your right shoulder. Be sure your left arm is held straight down (after a while, you might want to flex your left hand, so that your palm is parallel with the floor for an added stretch). Hold and slowly count to 10. Now, do the other side. Slowly and gently, roll your head clockwise one or two times; then, roll it the other direction.

Try to do this at least 2 or 3 times a day, especially after being at the computer for an extended period of time.

3. Stretch and flex your arms and hands

Another danger of sitting and typing too much is carpal tunnel syndrome, an ailment where you start to feel pain in your wrists and you experience numbness in different parts of your hands. Anyone who does repetitive motions for long periods of time needs to be very careful about this.

Here are some exercises you can do to ease the effects of too much typing or writing. First, hold your arms out parallel to the floor, with your palms facing the ground. Flex your hands up, as though you’re about to push against the wall in front of you. Hold while counting to 10 (for an added stretch, you might want to use one hand to push the other hand back towards you, and switch sides, but be very gentle and don’t yank or push too hard). Now, point your hands and fingers down towards the ground (again, you might want to very gently push the opposite hand toward you for more stretch). Now, hold your arms out to your sides and repeat the hand stretches up and down. Push outwards with your arms. Now, raise them up and interlock your fingers and face your palms to the ceiling. Push upwards, try to reach and push the ceiling. Bring your arms down and shake them out. Make fists with your hands, then stretch out your hands and fingers and wiggle them.

See, that didn’t take very long either.

Try to be more aware of sitting for too long periods of time. Get up and do these simple exercises. Or go for a walk down the hall and get a glass of water (you can never drink too much water!). Walk up and down the hallways for 10 minutes, then get back to work. You’ll feel better and ultimately be more productive in the work you do!

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.