Do these 5 exercises if you’re working from home
Guest post by Nicole Burke
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted our way of life — how we socialize, do our daily tasks, and even how we work. In fact, Stanford economist James Bloom reports that 42% of the workforce in America has transitioned to a work-from-home setting because of the pandemic.
However, not everyone is designed to work outside the office and this new working arrangement presents a slew of unique challenges that can affect your wellbeing. Working from home blurs the boundaries between work and home which can then lead to longer work hours.
And longer work hours simply means that you’ll be sitting at your desk and staring at your screen for extended periods of time.
In the short term, the health repercussions of working from home can manifest as tired eyes or a sore neck and back. But if left untreated, these seemingly harmless symptoms can turn into chronic pain that could affect you in the future.
One way to combat the health issues brought upon by working from home is by staying active. However, it can be discouraging to keep fit and move around as most gyms are still closed and your daily responsibilities can easily pile up.
But as we’ve pointed out in our post ‘4 Ways To Exercise When You Don’t Want To’ there’s no room for excuses when it comes to keeping yourself fit and healthy. With a little creativity and dedication, you can motivate yourself to move around and stay active — even if you’re busy working your butt off at home.
In his list of work-from-home wellness tips, remote work enthusiast James Gonzales recommends key steps like incorporating it into a morning routine or planning out your day so you don’t run out of time or energy. This can help you create a habit out of staying fit and establish exercise as an activity that completes your day.
5 Desk Exercises to Help You Stay Fit at Home
Being active while working from home can do so much more than just keep long-term health conditions at bay. Doing exercises to stay fit can also help with your productivity, boost your mood, and even improve your cognitive function according to Verywell Fit.
Below, we’ve listed five exercises that you can do from your own desk to help you get started on your work-from-home wellness journey.
Your eyes are bound to get tired after a long day of staring at your screen. That’s why you should let your eyes rest throughout the day by doing eye exercises.
Palming your eyes is a great way to perk up your vision and let your eyes recharge. To do this, simply warm up your hands by rubbing them together. If you’re not a big fan of that method, you can also head to the sink and run your hands through warm water.
Then, place your palms on top of your closed eyes. The comforting, warm sensation from your palms will relax your eye muscles, relieving your tired and worn eyes. Do this exercise at least twice during a workday or whenever your eyes feel a little weary.
One of the most common discomforts felt by people who work from home is neck pain. And with bad posture, this bothersome pain will feel unbearable down the road.
Neck rolls are a great way to instantly relieve your neck muscles. Firstly, sit up straight with your feet placed firmly and flat on the ground. Be sure to place your hands comfortably on your side or your lap. Secondly, close your eyes and move your neck from side to side with your ears touching the corresponding shoulder.
Lastly, move your head forward and back with your head gently lifted back and your chin touching your chest. Repeat these movements as much as you need. But make sure that you do this slowly and calmly as rushing through this exercise can further strain your neck.
Seated Figure Four Stretch
If your lower back is a little tight from working all day, the seated figure four stretch is for you.
To do this exercise, simply sit up straight in your office chair with both feet planted flat on the ground. Then, life one foot and rest it on the opposite knee. Making sure that your back is straight and upright, slowly lean forward until you feel a sensation running from your lower back to your hamstring muscles.
Hold this position for at least 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg and repeat at least three times for pain relief in your lower back.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Your legs need some love too while you’re working.
To do a seated hamstring stretch, sit close to the edge of your seat. Keeping one leg flat on the ground, extend the other leg and support the stretch by using a scarf or belt around the ball of your foot.
Then, straighten your back and bend forward. Don’t push yourself too much and if you feel a little pain, try to relax and push your back to a comfortable place. Hold this position for at least 30 seconds and wiggle your leg after. Then do the same on your bent leg.
There are two ways to approach shoulder stretches. The first one is by simply standing up and stretching your arms behind you. Then clasp your hands together and lift your arms. Other than giving your shoulders a stretch, this variation of the shoulder extension can also open up your chest.
The second one is also done standing up. Place both arms around your head, keeping it as straight as possible. Then clasp your hands together again, but this time, be sure to face them upwards. Afterward, stretch upwards as high as you can, lifting your feet and extending your body. If your shoulders feel tension, doing this stretch can help relax your muscles and give you a little relief.
It’s not impossible to do a little exercise even if you’re too busy working at home. You don’t need to pressure yourself with sweat busting workouts. All you really need are simple and gentle stretches that will keep joints healthy and ease the tension out of your muscles.
By doing these exercises, you can improve your physical fitness— something that everyone needs now during these distressing times.