Thirty minutes a day. That’s the magic number. Thirty minutes a day of moderate physical activity is not only the surgeon general’s recommendation, it’s also been shown to be one of the most effective remedies for a number of chronic conditions, including joint pain, depression and diabetes.
Have a look at this video by Dr. Mike Evans, founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, to learn more about his research on 30 minutes of daily physical activity and the healing effects it has on the mind and body.
Thirty minutes of activity is easy for a job with physical demands, but what about for those confined to a desk all day?
As we’ve discussed in prior posts, desk ergonomics, including the standing desk, are one of the more popular methods of getting people out of their chairs and avoiding the very real dangers of sitting all day. Those dangers include organ disease, muscle degeneration, and leg disorders.
But there are plenty of other ways to avoid being sedentary without even leaving your cubicle. Here are some recommended “desk exercises” we’ve collected from our own health coaches and WebMD.
- Do one-legged squats (hold onto a wall or table for support) while waiting for a web page to load.
- Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight, hold for 2 seconds; then lower your foot (stop short of the floor) and hold for several seconds. Switch; do each leg 15 times.
- Place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat, hold for a few seconds. Do 15 times. A great workout for arms and shoulders.
- To stretch your back and strengthen your biceps, place your hands on the desk and hang on. Slowly push your chair back until your head is between your arms and you're looking at the floor. Then slowly pull yourself back in. Again, 15 of these.
- Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
- Let your head lean over so that your right ear nearly touches your right shoulder. Using your hand, press your head a little lower (gently, now). Hold for 10 seconds. Relax, and then repeat on the other side.
- Sitting up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.
- To ease the hamstrings and lower back, push your chair away from your desk and put your right heel up on the desk. Sit up straight, and bend forward just until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Flex your foot for a few seconds, and then point it. Bend forward a little farther, flex your foot again, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Share these tips with your employees. Consider a health newsletter or a daily health tips email. Your employees will be thankful you did.