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07-02-2018

Desk exercise

Get up, get out, get healthy

Medical experts agree that a sedentary lifestyle is harmful to the health, with the University of Cambridge suggesting that spending all day sitting is as dangerous as being obese. If you are a translator, project manager or another type of office worker, you are ninety per cent more likely to feel restless, hopeless and tired than those in other professions who sit for less than three hours a day. To make matters worse, if you spend your free time slumped in front of the TV or playing computer games, you are at further risk of serious anxiety and bad health.

What should you be doing? Well, we all know that we are supposed to get up and move about every 20 minutes or so, but to have a greater effect on your health and well-being you should work exercise into your work routine that will enable you to work up a sweat during the day, release some feel-good endorphins, and hopefully drop a few pounds.

Ideally, a fast work at lunchtime will get you going, but if you are really stuck, you can stretch at your desk… better than nothing. Start with your head, sitting up straight and dropping it towards your left shoulder, and then to the right. Then, interlace your fingers, palms up and reach for the ceiling. Next, look around, and while you are at it, focus on something in the distance, which is good for your eyes. Then, drop your chin down and gently roll your head from side to side. Finish with some shrugs, lifting your shoulder and releasing so they drop. Feeling better yet?

Continue by releasing tension in your chest. Take your hands behind your back and press your palms together. Hold this position for five to ten seconds. Release tension in the rest of your body by sitting up and extending your left arm towards the ceiling. Then straighten your left leg out and raise it up as you bring your right arm down and try to touch your left foot. Repeat eight to ten times on each side.

Once you’ve stretched, get the blood flowing. You might get some funny looks, so why not get your colleagues to join in with some pretend skipping or squats? You can even jog on the spot in bursts of 30-45 seconds, repeating three to five times. Use office equipment to do things like shoulder presses. For example, pick up that old dictionary that nobody uses, hold it at shoulder height and then raise it all the way over head ten times. Repeat three times.

At the end of the day, get off the bus one stop earlier and enjoy an evening walk. Then, rather than sinking into the sofa, do some cooking. Chopping vegetables and tidying the kitchen will keep you active, and best of all, you’ll get a healthier meal. There are so many little things we can do every day to make our lives and health better, even if we do have to spend most of our time sitting.

Juliet Allaway

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