I recently worked in a chiropractor’s office. I usually work from home, but was interested in what drew people to the chiropractor. Beside personal injury, problems resulting from years of bad ‘desk’ habits are common.
This was a revelation to me. I noticed an exercise ball behind the reception desk and asked the Doc what was up? Turns out that she has replaced her own desk chair with an exercise ball. That’s right. She keyboards while balancing atop an exercise ball. It also turns out that the benefits are many.
These balls are large, air filled, and pretty tough. Surprisingly comfortable, they keep your calf, thigh, abdominal, back and butt muscles working all day while you are seated. Doctors love them for patient workouts, and their use is not limited to any one age group. For those of us who don’t (or won’t) step away from the keyboard for a stretch or a walk, this is a simple way to work gently some key muscle groups.
Additionally, a few ball exercises thrown in with your daily work routine can provide a much needed reprieve and a help build flexibility and core strength.
Anyone who works in an office, specifically, knows of the possibility of repetitive use problems. There are stretches that can be done right from your desk that will help keep this problems at bay.
1. Alternating between right and left shoulders, tip your head so that your ear nearly touches your shoulder. With your hand, press gently to extend the stretch. Hold for a 10 count, then release. Repeat for 3-5 stretches on each side. T
2. Turn your head ’til you’re looking out over your shoulder. Hold for a 10 count. Alternate shoulders. Repeat for 3-5 stretches on either side.
1. Sitting up straight, roll your shoulders forward for a count of 10. Then, roll your shoulders backward for a count of 10.
2. Sitting up straight, bring your shoulder blades as close together as they will go. Hold for 10 seconds and release.
1. Sitting up straight, put your arms straight out in front of you. Lightly close your hands into fists. Using just your hands, make circles in the air in front of you going in on direction for 10 seconds. Change directions and do the same for another 10. Loosen your fists and shake it out.
One Final Tip
Do it the hard way when it’s possible. Climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator (whenever reasonable), walking during lunch, parking a small distance from your destination away whenever road travel is required all contribute in small ways to better health. It takes a little time to work it into the routine, but once it becomes habit, you’ll feel better. Also, a little physical exertion helps manage stress, which will manifest in physical ways, if we let it.
Photo credit: Kate Sheets