Chairobics: Keep fit at your desk

Category: Wellbeing

Do you start the working week full of good intentions to stretch regularly, take breaks and drink nothing but water?

And do you end the week slouched in your chair, glued to your desk and single-handedly propping up the coffee bean industry with your relentless intake?

If you simply can’t trust yourself to stick to those good intentions – and you’re feeling the aches and pains – there’s (of course) an app for that. 

Maintaining good posture is as important as keeping fit. Wearable sensors UpRight (£84.99) vibrate when you’ve slouched and talk to a smartphone app to keep track of your progress. Their fans say the gadgets really have retrained them into better posture.  

Workrave is designed to help you avoid repetitive strain injury. Prompts nudge you towards microbreaks of just a few seconds and proper rest breaks. It suggests exercises too but they’re gentle stretches and movements, rather than full-on mini workouts.

There’s nothing to stop you taking a DIY approach. Just set hourly reminders and try the following:

  • Shoulder rolls – forwards then backwards
  • Vision break – take your focus off the monitor and gaze into the distance to rest your eyes
  • Wrist twirls – rotate both hands, in either direction, to release tension and minimise your risk of Repetitive Strain Injury
  • Chest opener – clasp your hands behind your chair or behind your head and gently encourage those tight chest muscles to open.

Fitness fanatic
If you really want to up your game, try this more challenging routine: 

  • Seated leg extension – lift one leg out in front of you for a set of 20. Repeat with the other leg
  • Single leg lifts – extend one leg in front of you and hold for a count of 20. Repeat with the other leg
  • Circle leg lift – still seated, extend one leg, point your toes and make small circles in one direction and then the other. Repeat
  • Calf raises – lift your heels off the ground and contract your calves for two sets of 20 (this is a brilliant circulation booster). 

Whatever your level of fitness, remember to bust some moves and you’ll be fitter and more chilled out. Possibly. 

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash