Energize your mind and body during the work day

Sitting all day can drain your energy; a few stretches, curls and flexes can help you feel energized all day.

Many jobs require sitting at a desk eight to 10 hours a day. Once at your desk, hours can go by when suddenly it occurs to you that you haven’t gotten up once to stretch or walk in quite some time. All this sitting isn’t conducive to flexibility of the body, mind or spirit. There are moves and exercises that can be carried out at your desk and in your office space, which do not require a leotard (or provide embarrassing entertainment for your coworkers!). Please note that you should consult with your health care provider regarding the types and amounts of activity that is appropriate for you. With any of these desk exercises recommended by Michigan State University Extension, you may find sitting at your desk all day just got a little better.

Back stretch: Once an hour stand up, put your hands on the small of your back and slowly and gently arch your back as far as you can for one second. Repeat this move six to eight times.

Hip flexes: Sitting in a chair, lift your right foot a few inches off of the floor. Keep your knee bent and hold that position as long as you remain comfortable. Switch to your left leg.

Leg extensions: Sitting in your chair, extend your right leg until it is level with your hip. Hold as long as you are comfortable and then relax. Switch to your left leg.

Arm pump: Pump both of your arms over your head for 30 seconds.

Wrist stretch: Stretch your arm out in front of you with the palm up. With your other hand, grab your fingers and lightly pull them down to stretch your forearm.

Hand stretches: Tense and relax the muscles in your hands. Make fists, spread your fingers and bend your fingers.

Now that you’ve worked on your body let’s give your brain a boost with a few mindful practices. Research has shown that mindfulness can decrease stress and anxiety and increase mental health and cognitive functioning.

Deep breathing: Breathe in deeply, holding that pose and count to five; slowly and comfortably, release your breath. Repeat this nine more times.

Body scan: A ten-minute body scan will help you get in touch with your body, finding and focusing on where you may be feeling tense and then releasing that tension. The link here is a guided body scan enabling you to close your eyes and really focus on you and not your to-do list.

Lunch breaks: Plan time away from your desk, eat alone or connect with others, taking the opportunity to mindfully eat to truly taste and enjoy your food.

These moves, stretches, breathing and mindful practices will certainly help you throughout your day. The end result of these practices may change how we arrive at home each afternoon, less stressed with energy to focus on enjoying our evening.

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