health and wellness tips

Exercise for Energy. Right at Your Desk #AtoZChallenge

Exercise Stretch into your comfort zone #AtoZChallenge

So I woke up rather stiff and  miserable the past couple of days. Early mornings, late nights eventually take their toll, eh? They did, at least for me. Plus add the heat. I can’t believe our garden city recorded a higher temperature than Chennai, which is acknowledged as the sweatiest, warmest place to be.

I feel exhausted and energy-less. On top of that, I am dealing with power cuts, plumbers, and electricians. In short, my home is like Liberty Hall. And no, answering the doorbell is not enough exercise, although I wish it were.

In any case, I realized that the only way to beat the lethargy and tiredness, is exercise. But with impending thunderstorms, I am not eager to be stuck outside. After my recent data loss, any sign of thunder has me switching everything off and retiring to the kitchen to cook something up.

What to do?

Good news is, there’s exercise.

Shh! I hear you say “no time!” Let me finish. You can do these exercises at the desk.

If you, like me, have been spending a lot of time hunched over your desk, I am pretty sure you are experiencing some kind of back pain with energy drain.

You have probably heard that sitting is the new smoking, so you really want to watch yourself. Also, our posture as we sit, and our other movements can play havoc on our joints and muscles. Now who wants a bunch of medical problems eh? I shudder to think that I once battled carpal tunnel syndrome. Most painful thing ever, since the pain shoots up the arm, up the elbow and shoulders and neck and from there, the back and before you know it, osteoporosis, risk of fracture and a whole lot of other conditions.

So enough about the endless consequences of sitting. Let’s look at solutions.

Exercise

Set aside just a few minutes. Perhaps even set the alarm for 15 minutes. So maybe you’ll look a little freaky doing this at your desk if you go to work, but guess who’ll have the last laugh when you end up feeling good. Ha ha.

Let’s begin.

Stand up, sit down

No hands. Stand up, sit down without using your hands. Tip: look cool by doing it when you are on the phone.

Get your balance

If you can, replace your chair with an exercise ball. It is great for low-back problems as it keeps your back, leg and butt muscles engaged to help you work on your balance. A standing desk might help, too, if you can’t use a ball.

Shrug it off

To loosen your neck and shoulders do this: inhale deeply, shrug shoulders all the way up to your ears. Hold. Relax. Do this thrice.

Then do the indecisive head shake—nod yes up and down, nod no side to side.

Are you amazing? Yes! Do you want to slap the guy who bumped into you? Yes! Would you really do it? No! Do you love me? Yes, yes yes! and so on.

Make air circles

To loosen your hands, stretch both hands out in front and clench your fists. Make air circles, ten left and ten right. Then shake out your hands.

Point that finger

This one works on your hands, wrist and forearms. Stretch your left hand out in front, fingers pointing toward the floor. With your right hand, gently push fingers down towards your body. Repeat this with the right hand. Next, stretch the left hand out front, wrist bent, fingers pointing skyward. With your right hand, gently pull the fingers back. Repeat with right hand.

Twist that torso

Take a deep breath. As you exhale, turn to your right and grip the back of your chair with the right hand, while you grab the arm of the chair with the left. Weird eh? Still holding the chair, try to twist around as far back as you can.  Return to original position. Repeat on the other side.

Abs and legs

Sit in your chair. Grip the seat for support and stretch your legs out straight in front, almost parallel to the floor. Flex and point your toes a few times. Relax. Repeat.

Hug yourself

This is good to stretch your back. So give yourself a big ol’ hug, right hand on left shoulder and left hand on the right shoulder. Breathe in, breathe out. Feel that area between your shoulder blades stretch.

Work the shoulders and upper back

Extend your left arm out in front of you. With the right, grab the left elbow and pull it across your chest to stretch your shoulder and upper back muscles. Hold. Relax. Now repeat with the right arm.

The leg hug

This stretches your back and shoulders. Sitting on the edge of your chair, place your feet together flat on the floor. Leaning over, chest touching knees, allow your arms dangle to the floor. Release that neck. Now, clasp hands behind legs. If you can reach the elbows, great! Feel the back, neck and shoulders stretch. Hold. Release hands to floor. Repeat thrice.

Look up for upper body love

Sitting straight in your chair, or standing up, stretch arms overhead and lock your fingers. Turn the palm up to face the ceiling, lift your chin up, tilt your head back and look at the ceiling. Inhale. Exhale. Relax. You know, if you do this on waking up, it feels really good!

Walk the talk

Instead of sending that group email, go talk to that colleague your really want to communicate with. And? Don’t hold lunch meetings at your desk. Walk to the café, talk, eat without distraction.

And that’s it for E for exercise.

Do one, two or twelve.

If you’re a multi-tasking Mama, I promise you’ll feel better. You’re welcome!

Now, try at least ONE of these and tell me how you feel!

Caution: If you have an underlying health issue, or an existing back problem, please consult your doctor before attempting any exercise. And I hope you get better soon!

E is also for Eat breakfast and Engage

Featured image is from Shutterstock

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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Medha Nagur
    April 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I can’t explain how i felt reading your introduction. As if someone narrated my own story to me. Oof! How i wished answering door bell several times a day had more benefits. Alas! It is only capable of breaking my train of thoughts while I am busy writing.

    Not to mention my agony on late nights and back aches.

    Informative post Vidya and quite a few practical exercises doable right at your desk! Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    Shilpa Garg
    April 6, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Did you write this for me?? Can you believe I have been dealing with electricians and plumbers since the last 3 days.
    To add to these is the heat and hectic pace of blogging that is sapping my energy… I think these are the exercises that I just need. Thanks for sharing, Vidya!

  • Reply
    Karen
    April 6, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I am struggling right now to find a way to incorporate more movement into my daily routine where I spend far too many hours huddled over a keyboard for work and blogging. Your post is extremely timely! I do try to move around a minimum of every hour, but stretching would not only help my energy level but also go a long way towards minimizing aches and pains. Thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    Soumya
    April 6, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    When you said that you woke up rather stiff, my mind went elsewhere 😛 .Don’t blame me, I’m your friend after all!

    I exercise at my office desk everyday. Also, I cannot sit at a place for more than 30 minutes. I walk around a lot and always take the stairs 🙂

  • Reply
    Modern Gypsy
    April 6, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    I hugged myself, cause, you know, I’m cool like that 😉

    These are great tips! I’m going to bookmark these for the weekends when I binge Blog.
    Modern Gypsy recently posted…{E} The wonderful world of EncausticsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Shailaja Vishwanath
    April 6, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    I actually ran through all your suggestions right now, Vidya 🙂 Makes for a difference for sure. I’m more the sedentary type so really need to work on these simple exercises when I can!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 6, 2017 at 11:36 pm

      They are super-easy and require only 15 minutes! Glad you find ’em helpful!

  • Reply
    Wendy of The Rock
    April 6, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    Well, now the guy in the apartment block across the road is looking at me really weirdly!
    And I think you blog-shamed me into going to that yoga class I was considering skipping tonight

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 6, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      I have this cool feeling of mission accomplished! Hahahah. Hugs, Wendy!

  • Reply
    Darla M Sands
    April 6, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Great tips! I’m actually going to the local YMCA for a swim in just a few minutes. ~grin~ Then I want to come home and write, preferably on my back porch during our predicted thunderstorms. Be well!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 6, 2017 at 11:37 pm

      Wow! Nice, Darla! A swim is so refreshing! We were supposed to have a thunderstorm but I guess it just blew off! Hugs!

  • Reply
    Geets
    April 6, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I don’t know when on earth am I going to start with my exercise! *rolling eyes*

    Cheers

  • Reply
    Vinodini
    April 6, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    These are such simple exercises that are definitely do-able. I have been quite irregular with my exercise routine but I do try to walk for 30 mins, on 5 days a week. I learnt my lesson after suffering from Carpal tunnel a few years back (Yes, me too!). Thanks for reminding me to exercise lest I end up with another bout of Carpal’s. 🙂

  • Reply
    shubhangi srikanth
    April 6, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    There…there! A cool 10-minute exercise done from my chair! And I had fun too, while my kids watched me wondering why mummy’s acting crazy! I needed the shoulder and upper back exercise, they are so cramped from sitting in front of the laptop all day long!

  • Reply
    Mithila Menezes
    April 6, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I can do these exercises while taking a break from studies too! I liked the stand-sit-stand one without using your hands. I think I’m getting pretty good at it, because I’m typing this comment as I’m doing it 🙂
    The twist the torso one looks a bit complicated, and I’d rather try that one out after exams 😀

    I wonder when the rains will arrive in Mumbai. It’s raining everywhere except here!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 6, 2017 at 11:39 pm

      Yes, you can! My neighbor, who’s in grade 12 just came over and told me she liked it too! And yes, smart move to try one out right away. The sit stand is great for balance. The torso twist is also quite easy.

      Rains in Mumbai? June 5. 🙂 Hugs! Enjoyed your post for E very much!

  • Reply
    Mayuri Nidigallu
    April 6, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Great suggestions, Vidya. Some are part of my daily routine, while others I hope to incorporate.
    Thank you, Vidya:)

  • Reply
    Jemima Pett
    April 6, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    Just a reminder to people who already have lower back problems – don’t use exercise balls for ordinary sitting, or those kneeler chairs. Get proper lumbar support – and move often, using Vidya’s activities!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 6, 2017 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you Jemima! Perhaps I should add a word of caution to the post! Hugs! You are absolutely right.

  • Reply
    Tina Sequeira
    April 6, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    Hi Vidya! What a fun read and an easy do-able way to incorporate exercise into our lives. This comes as sweet reminder. For most of us, the battle is more to with the mind and our will, rather than our struggle with our bodies per se. Keep writing and motivating us! Thanks for sharing this! I would like to invite you to read my post for the day´s challenge. Would love to know your thoughts on it. https://pensense.blogspot.in/2017/04/e-is-for-education-light-in-darkness.html

  • Reply
    Deepa
    April 6, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    I never used to sit for longer periods of time but blogging changed everything. I was just reading all the exercises you mentioned and doing it while reading. Thanks for all these Vidya. Need of the hour for those who are in the sitting jobs.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 7, 2017 at 12:22 am

      Same with me, Deepa! And we never realize how we slip into the habit of being sedantary! You could also just turn the music on and dance. 🙂

  • Reply
    Donna
    April 7, 2017 at 1:07 am

    Thanks for these tips. Age is starting to catch up with me and I’m always looking for things I can do at my desk to help work out the kinks. Thankfully I’m in an office by myself so I don’t feel silly, though my small space doesn’t allow for a standing desk or yoga ball. Donna from Girl Who Reads

  • Reply
    Shalini
    April 7, 2017 at 1:14 am

    I used to do exercise at my office desk always. These are fab tips. I realize I can do so much more than just wiggling my head.

  • Reply
    Sreesha
    April 7, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    “Will Vidya send me lots of presents without me asking?” *nods yes, yes, yes* “Do I need to send a reminder?” *no, no, no*
    Ok, that’s one done. I also hugged myself. 😀
    My neck and shoulders ache on some days and I try all kinds of things from adjusting the height of my chair to stretching my neck like some kinda ghost, and getting up and walking around. Hope this doesn’t get worse.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      April 7, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Hehehe! Sit less. That’s the big remedy these days. You feel magically better.
      And whatsapp me your address.
      Hugs! Sreesha!

  • Reply
    Sujata Ravi
    April 7, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Great post! Like you said, sitting is the new smoking. So helpful to be able to be a little less sedentary with these desk exercises!

    https://sujataravi6.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/e-is-for-exercise-atozchallenge/

  • Reply
    Sarah Phan
    April 7, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Great tips. Thank you for sharing. I will do it everyday for a better body.
    Have a nice day!

  • Reply
    Asha
    April 7, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Wow! This post had great timing. Been battling a low back pain for the past few days. Nice tips.

  • Reply
    Angel Stew & Devil's Brew
    April 8, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I did ALL of these and yes. I felt better instantly. I’m going to keep this post up and remind myself to do this all thru the day! Thank you Vidya!

  • Reply
    Rajlakshmi
    April 9, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    these are some nice moves that can be easily done in the office… I do some of these stretches at my desk… feels energetic 😀

  • Reply
    Birgit
    April 10, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I will see if I can do a couple of these exercises but I don’t think I will replace my chair with a big ball.

  • Reply
    Ankur.incomeBoy
    April 10, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Great mam … I can do these exercise all day long …these are such as nice moves..I was just reading all the exercises you mentioned and doing it while reading. Thanks for all these mam

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