Office Chair Exercises

Learn to Stay Fit at Work

These office chair exercises are designed to give you some low-impact. low-intensity movements that can be done almost anywhere. Doing a few regular exercises at the office can help keep you healthy and defend you against common strains like wrist injuries and lower back pain.

But obviously, in most office settings you can't hop out of your chair and start doing jumping jacks whenever you feel like it. Here you'll find a series of exercises you can do right there in your office chair - some you can even do while on the phone or typing an email.

Office Chair Exercises: Wrist Stretches

Stretching your wrists may seem like a minor thing, but you'd be amazed how many people suffer wrist injuries as a result of holding their hands in the wrong position in relation to a keyboard. If your job involves a lot of typing, regular wrist stretches are extremely important, as an injury could actually affect your ability to work at all.

Here's a simple wrist stretch exercise:

  1. Extend your left arm straight out in front of you.
  2. Using your right hand, take hold of the fingertips of your extended left hand.
  3. Gently pull your fingers back, keeping your left forearm facing the ground.
  4. Now do the same in the opposite direction, using your right hand to bend your left hand forward and down so you feel a slight stretch.
  5. Once you've done this with your left wrist, repeat the same on the right wrist.
Do this exercise as much as you like throughout the day to help avoid stiffening wrists. You should also make sure your chair is adjusted to the right height so that you don't have to bend your wrists awkwardly in order to type.

Office Chair Exercises: Abdominal Workouts

Keeping a strong core is essential if you want to avoid back pain. When most of us sit in an office chair, we tend to let all our abdominal muscles relax. Over time, these muscles grow weaker and are less able to hold us upright and keep the spine, nerves and tendons in their proper places.

One office chair exercise you can use to strengthen your core muscles involves simply bringing your knee up to your elbow. Sit up straight in your chair - keep your back straight and your head in line with your body. Engage your abdominals to pull your right knee up to your right elbow. Repeat this movement 8-10 times, then do it on the left side as well. Keep your knee and elbow in a straight line together - imagine a rod going straight through your arm, through your elbow, through your knee and into the floor. Your movement should follow the path of that imaginary rod.

If your work setting doesn't allow for this much movement, you can always resort to a basic ab squeeze. This simply involves sitting up straight and tensing your core abdominal muscles for 10-15 seconds, then releasing. Allow 5 seconds of relaxation, then tense again. You can repeat this exercise 10-20 times in a session, or as many times as is comfortable (but remember, never push yourself too much when doing a new exercise).

Chair Exercises for Seniors

Are you in need of low-intensity exercises designed specifically for older people looking to stay more active in the office? As we get older, staying active becomes more important than ever and every little bit counts. The ab squeeze exercise we just talked about is a good place to start. Here are a few other ideas.

Knee lifts are one good office chair exercise for seniors. These are similar to the elbow-knee touch exercise described above, but a bit less intense. All you have to do is lift your leg up so your foot is a few inches off the floor, hold for a few seconds, then replace it back down. Then repeat the exercise on the other side. This helps keep your legs 'awake' and your hips flexible. It also helps encourage blood flow. Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition which usually affects the legs, and the risk of this can be reduced by ensuring your legs get plenty of movement throughout the day while you're working away at your desk.

Exercising your ankles is another important one if you want to encourage consistent blood flow and avoid blood clot related problems which are common in seniors who sit in an office chair all day.

To exercise your ankles, simply lift your foot off the ground, point your toes towards the floor and rotate the joint several times. Rotate both clockwise and counter-clockwise to get the full range of motion. Blend these leg exercises with low-intensity sets of the exercises above, and you'll have a good routine for avoiding sitting-related health problems at any age.

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