For many people, there's no escape from the office. There's just no way around it — if you want to work and pay bills, you have to glue your butt to a chair for about eight hours a day, five days a week, in order to get that paycheck and working credit. And for many, that also means that the majority of their day is spent inactive, running on fumes — not including the few people who have the advantage of a standing or walking desk.
Personally, it's hard for me to stay productive when I'm stuck at a desk all day. Without the freedom to walk around and get my heart rate up, my energy levels crash. And with them, goes my mood. By the time the work day is over, I'm so spent and sore from being indolent that all I want to do is go home, put on comfortable clothes, defrost a frozen dinner, and watch TV. I have no energy to meet my friends or cook a healthy dinner.
I know I'm not the only one who struggles with this imbalance, so I talked to NYC fitness specialist and personal trainer, Brad Lloyd, and asked him about ways that people can increase their energy, strengthen their core, and enhance their mood all from the discomfort of their desks. Apparently, there are a few options. Here's what he suggested:
Set a recurring alarm for yourself: one minute, every hour. When the alarm goes off, sit up a straight as you can, roll your shoulders back, lift your chin, tuck your tailbone and close your eyes. Breath deeply like this, holding this perfect posture, engaging your core and holding the in-line position. This simple posture and meditation will reset and center you before you realize you even need it.
5, 6, 7 Breathing
This is a calculated kind of breathing that's incredibly calming. Pull in a deep breath for five seconds, hold it for six seconds and take a full seven seconds to exhale. The physiological effects of this breathing technique will not only help you destress in ten minutes or less, but it will to help slow your heart rate down — which is good for disabling hypertension, a major mood killer.
Taking deep belly breaths will help increase the intramuscular abdominal pressure which contracts the core muscles and enables blood flow through the muscles around the midsection and hips. This is both stimulating and stress relieving. Learn more about it here.
Correctional Neck Exercise
When we look at our phones or computer screens, we lean in with our head. We hold this position so often that we've retrained our brain to believe this is the correct position. But if the opening of your ear is not in line with your shoulder, you're putting a strain on your back, neck, and shoulders. Every few hours, spend a few minutes stretching your neck and dropping your head back to counter the strain.
Instead of bouncing your feet under the desk, trying sitting upright with tall posture and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Flex your feet, keeping your toes pointed upright and forward for three sets of 10 to 15 seconds. This will stimulate your quadriceps and get your blood flowing.