Exercises to do at your Desk

Did you know that 30 to 40% of people with diabetes may eventually develop kidney complications ? (report source: Kidney Research UK).

This report also states that: “Diabetes is the most common cause of end stage renal failure (ERSF) requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant in the UK.

  • About 20% of those starting dialysis in the UK have diabetes
  • The condition is becoming more common and it is estimated that numbers will double in the UK over the next few years.
  • Mainly this is due to the type of food eaten and lifestyle – diabetes is more common in the overweight.
  • 30-40% of people with diabetes may eventually develop kidney complications, known as diabetic nephropathy.

World Health Organisation

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.2 million deaths can be attributed to lack of physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle is responsible for increasing our risk of diabetes and heart disease as well as a loss of muscle and bone strength. Perhaps even more alarming is that people who exercise regularly are probably still not getting enough movement in their lives to counteract the deleterious effects of sitting too much.

The good news is that with a little more activity throughout the day, we can actually reverse the inevitable weight gain associated with such a sedentary existence.

So, the team at the Paul Popham Renal Fund Wales would like to encourage people who work in offices and who do generally have a sedentary lifestyle to follow some of these simple exercises whilst at work to help to get them more active without having to make major lifestyle changes.

Stretch at Your Desk

Try these a few of these ten stretches that you can do at your desk which will help to keep you flexible and add a simple exercise routine into your work day:

  • Rubber Neck: sit up tall and drop your right ear down towards your right shoulder (you don’t have to touch it!) and hold for a few seconds and repeat for the left side.
  • Reach for the Stars: interlace your fingers and reach up towards the sky, as high as you can. keeping your palms facing up towards the ceiling.
  • Look Around: turn your head the left and try and look over your shoulder and hold for a few seconds … repeat on the right.
  • Bobblehead: drop your chin down towards your chest and GENTLY roll your head from side to side.
  • Shrugs: raise both shoulders up towards your ears and hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat a few times for good measure.
  • Chest Opener: bring your hands behind your back, press your palms together, sit up tall and hold for 5–10 seconds.
  • Seated Toy Soldier: Sit up tall and extend your right arm all the way up towards the ceiling. Straighten your left leg out and raise it up as you bring your right arm down and try to touch your left foot. Do 8–10 on each side.
  • Knee Hug: with a bent knee, lift your right leg up and grab it with your arms and pull it in as close to your chest as you can. Hold for 5–10 seconds and make sure and do it on the left side, too.
  • Reach and Bend: extend your right arm over your head and reach out as far as you can to the left and gently bend over. Hold for a few seconds and do it the other way.
  • Knee Press: this one stretches out the glutes. With your right ankle on your left knee, gently press against the right knee a few times. Of course, after you’re done with the right side, be sure and give the left side some love, too.

Upgrade Your Workplace Workout

When you’re comfortable doing some of the above, then you can introduce more workplace activities into your daily routine.

Start with some stretching which is great for loosening your joints and keeping you flexible too.  Here are some other suggestions to help you upgrade your workplace workout to ensure you’re getting the daily of exercise that your body needs.

  • Walk/Jog/Run on the Spot: this is as simple as it sounds. Stand up from your chair and get to it. Anyone can do this one, you are in control of the intensity based on the pace you choose. For an even bigger challenge bring your knees up to waist level. 30–45 seconds. 3–5 times
  • Push-Ups: you don’t have to get onto the office floor to do this exercise. You can do push ups against a wall or the edge of your desk. 10 reps. 3 times.
  • Squats: from your chair, stand up, sit back down and repeat 10 more times.
  • Tricep Dips: these can be done pretty much anywhere. Use your desk or your chair if it doesn’t have wheels on it. Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the desk or chair, then move your butt off the front with your legs extended out in front of you. Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints. Do 3 sets of 10.
  • Joking Jump Rope: hop on both feet at once, or alternate. Increase the intensity by adding the arm movements you would do if you had a rope. 30 – 45 seconds, 3 – 5 times
  • Calf Raises: stand up behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor. Do 3 sets of 10.
  • Glute Squeeze: squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and hold for 10–30 seconds.
  • Shoulder Press: look around the office and find an old phone book or a ream of paper, something that weighs a few pounds. Hold it at shoulder height and then raise it all the way overhead. 10 reps. 3 times.
  • Wall Sit: stand with your back against the wall and slowly lower yourself into a seated position and hold for 10–30 seconds at a time.
  • Lunge: you can keep this move stationary and do it at your desk, or you could go all out and lunge down the hall to the printer and back. With one leg in front of the other, gently lower the knee of your back leg down towards the ground. Like you were going to propose to a co-worker. 10 times on each leg.

In Summary

Don’t be bothered if your work colleagues give you funny looks whilst doing any of the above exercises. You’re the one looking after you own health and well-being.

On a final note, ideally you should get up from your desk at least once an hour, even if it’s not to exercise at your desk. Set an alarm to remind you to stop squinting at that Excel worksheet and get up and move.

Also, walking for just two minutes an hour can reduce the negative effects of sitting. And if you’re still right now, get up and start moving.

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