This pandemic-influenced work culture is challenging for one day let alone an entire year. And by this point, your body is likely letting you know it needs a break. If you’re starting to feel the physical and mental burnout associated with working remotely, like a stiff neck, tight lower back, and tension headaches, a desk-based exercise boost will help bring you back to life.
If you were interested in trying deskercises prior to the pandemic but didn’t want to startle your coworkers with your jumping jacks, or were embarrassed at the thought of doing calf raises in front of your colleagues, now is the perfect time to become a desk jockey in the privacy of your own home.
To maximize the benefits of these brain and body stimulating exercises, plan on practicing them midday rather than at the beginning or end of your workday. It will not only help breakup Zoom meetings, but also keep your mind crisp, clear, and rid your body of built up aches and pains. And for an added body enhancing bonus, turn up your favorite tunes when doing so.
Nurse your neck
- Stand tall with your gaze forward and shoulders back.
- Bring your left arm behind your body and lightly grasp above your wrist with your right hand.
- Use your right hand to apply light downward pressure on your left arm as you slowly lower your right ear toward your right shoulder. Hold here, feeling the soothing stretch on the outer left side of your neck for 10 seconds. Gently release and practice on the opposite side.
- Stretch your spine
- From the same standing position, take a deep breath in to expand your ribs as you pull your arms out to shoulder height.
- On the exhale, bring your arms together, clasp your hands in front of your body, curve your spine inward, roll your shoulders forward, and tuck your chin into your chest. Feel your shoulder blades open.
- Hold each pose for several counts. Continue this open-and-close sequence for five reps
- Stand with your back pressed against a sturdy wall. Carefully walk your feet out to lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Your arms should be extended out to your sides at shoulder height, with your elbows forming a 90-degree angle.
- All your body weight should be in your heels. If it helps, lift your toes slightly to ensure your weight is grounded here. This will protect your knees.
- Hold this position as you extend your arms up, bringing your hands together in a winglike fashion. Continue for 10 repetitions then slowly walk your feet back to a standing position.
- Stand tall with a slight bend in your legs and ball your hands into fists held close to your chest.
- Take a breath in. On the exhale, pivot off the ball of your right foot and simultaneously punch diagonally across your body with your right arm. Your entire upper body, including your gaze, should move in the direction of your punch.
- Inhale as you quickly pull the right arm back into your chest and exhale as you pivot on your left foot to punch toward your right side. This should be a brisk back-and-forth movement for 60 seconds. Remember to take full, even breaths as you punch.
- Shake out the stress of your day by marching in place for one minute. To make the most of this march, pump your arms so your hands come up above your head while your knees reach up toward your torso. Land lightly on your feet with each step, keeping the majority of your body weight on the balls of your feet.
As you continue to work remotely, movement will be your secret weapon for fighting fatigue.