How To Stay Mobile When You’re Trapped Behind Your Desk All Day
Do you get trapped behind your desk all day?
It used to happen a lot when I worked in the corporate world. And these days it happens when I’m working on a deadline for an upcoming project.
It feels like no one is immune.
The scary part? Science is showing how much damage is being done by chronic levels of sitting. In fact, there’s a term in the scientific community called, “Sitting Disease.”
According to JustStand.org:
- The average American sits about 55% of the time they’re awake
- Women who were inactive and sat a lot were 94% more likely to die than women who sat less and were active
- Men who were inactive and sat a lot were 48% more likely to die than their active counterparts
The good news? You can help thwart some of the damage of sitting disease with some simple exercises.
These are easy-to-do moves I implement daily. Plus, I’ll share my best kept secret. I used it during my 14-year tenure sitting behind an office desk every day.
Shall I show you now?
Sit up nice and tall.
Make certain your office chair is secure and won’t move around.
Breathe in and out through your nose.
Move slowly and repeat each movement as much as you like. The only rule is it shouldn’t hurt. Be conservative at first. It should get easier as you get used to the moves.
Look up and down.
As you look up, try to press your nose into the ceiling. And as you look down, try to press the back of your head into the ceiling. In other words, use your muscles instead of letting gravity do it’s thing.
Pull your shoulder blades up to your ears. Now, roll them back and down your spine. Now, roll them forward and up your spine. Repeat a few times, then reverse the direction.
Cats and dogs.
Place your hands on your knees. As you inhale, puff your chest out. As you exhale, collapse your chest in. If you’ve seen “cat/cow” in a yoga class, you’ll recognize this move. The difference here is you’re seated instead of on all fours.
Inhale as you bend to your right. Exhale as you sit up tall. Inhale as you bend to your left. Exhale as you sit up tall. Keep your “seat” in your seat.
Lift the heel of your right foot. Now imagine you’re putting out a cigarette you found on the floor. Try to roll your ankle one way and then the other way. It’s better if you can pop off your shoes, but it’s okay if you don’t.
Bonus tip: I used to keep a tennis ball under my desk and give myself foot massages throughout the day.
My Best Kept Secret
Drink water throughout your work day.
Simple enough, right?
But there’s a method to the madness because two things happen when you drink plenty of water throughout the day. 1) You stay hydrated. 2) You have to get up, stand, and walk a lot.
The first benefit, staying hydrated, has its own positive list, including but not limited to: cardiovascular health, regulating body temperature, cleansing your body, etc. All of which are great, but the second benefit is the one we’ll discuss in detail.
The second benefit, having to get up throughout your day … among other amazing things, helps offset all the sitting.
One answer is walking is considered a “reset.” When you sit all day, the muscles in front of your hips shorten and the muscles on the back of your hips lengthen. Eight hours at a time. That can wreak havoc on your low back.
When you stand up, it reverses that model and helps restore balance to those muscle groups. Not only that, walking can also help improve your posture and help loosen up your shoulders.
Bonus tips to help increase your steps while at work:
- Park your car a little further away from your office
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Get up and walk to communicate with someone instead of using your speakerphone, messenger, or email
- Use the printer or copier down the hall instead of the one close by
- Use the restroom that’s far away from your desk instead of the closest one
Sometimes you can feel trapped behind your desk all day.
It happens to all of us.
And that can lead to unwanted stiffness, achy joints, and slouchy posture. Not to mention spoiling your mood.
The good news is you can overcome your sedentary situation. All it takes are a few simple exercises you can do right at your desk and by keeping yourself hydrated.
Challenge yourself right now to create a positive change in your work day. Make it a point to practice your mobility drills before and/or after you complete a project or meet a deadline. Set up a reminder to keep your water bottle full.
You may find you become more productive and more mobile.
You’ve got this!
PS: Keep your eyes and ears open for a secret project I’m working on right now. Details later …