5 simple physiotherapy exercises to do at your office desk

Hey everyone! Like I said in my previous post,  we’ll be looking at health, wellness and food related posts this month. 🙂

So what is health, really?

WHO defines health as- “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

As a physiotherapist, a dance movement therapist, meditator and yoga practioner ( more on this later) I firmly believe this and know it to be true. 

Health is not just one aspect where you focus only on one aspect- that is your body. Health is being mentally, emotionally and if I may add spiritually in a healthy state too. 

I firmly believe in holistic health. Over here, we will be focusing on a wide array of topics and not just on how to be ‘physically fit’ but also talk about emotional, mental and spiritual health. Physical health of course, is the basis of good health and is of prime importance I would say,especially in today’s times.

Today, our lives are stressful, whether you are working in an office set up or working from home, or a stay-at-home mum, or a dancer, or a teacher or anything for that matter, we hardly get time for looking after ourselves. We tend to neglect the body and we hardly have time to exercise. 

Today therefore, I am going to be sharing 5 physiotherapy exercises that you can do, while sitting at your office desk (or anywhere else)  

The exercises are simple, easy to perform and best part is they hardly consume any time. I would suggest you all to do these 2-4 times a day. With an interval of atleast 2 hours in between. Do not hold your breath in any of these exercises

1.Trapezius muscle stretch

This stretch is for one of your neck muscles, which tend to get tight, especially if you are working for a long time on the computer.  You are going to be stretching the muscle called trapezius, that too the upper fibres, so it’s technically called upper trapezius stretch.

How to perform: Sit up tall with good posture keeping shoulders down. Grasp the bottom of the seat with one hand. Slightly turn your ear to your shoulder until a comfortable stretch and mild tension is felt on the opposite side of the neck. Hold that position for 20 seconds. Repeat to each side 3 times. Inhale and exhale deeply as you perform. 

Alternatively, instead of grasping the bottom of the seat, you can place your hand on your lower back, palm facing outwards (see image). This way you can do the exercise even in standing. 🙂 

2. Shoulder Shrug

Raise both shoulders up towards your ears and hold for a few seconds (10 -20 secs)  and release. Repeat 3-4 times. 

3. Pectoralis major stretch (Chest opener)

This one is for  stretching your chest muscles. 

How to perform- Interlock your fingers behind your head. Your elbows should be pointed outwards. Your back should still be straight and your neck should not be bent.Move your elbows backward. As you move your elbows back, squeeze your shoulder blades together. You should feel your chest muscles stretch.Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Inhale and exhale deeply as you hold the stretch. Remember to keep your neck straight. It may feel natural to bend your neck backward but you shouldn’t be doing it.  Repeat 3 times. 

4. Dynamic Quadriceps muscle exercise.  (Knee strengthening)

This is one of the most important exercise in any knee rehabilitation program. However, when when one is sitting all day, the knee muscles tend to get wasted and don’t really function well and start losing their strength, hence, I would suggest doing this exercise in the office, or anyplace you are sitting. 

Before doing this exercise, adjust the height of your chair so that your feet are just touching the ground. The chair should not be placed at a low height. 

How to perform- Sit up straight and tense your abs. Lift one of your legs straight out to hip level and keep the foot pointing slightly upwards. Tense your quad (thigh) and maintain the tension for a desired period of time before relaxing and lowering your leg. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions and then switch to the other side. You can start with about 10 seconds for each rep, but feel free to do as short/long as you feel like. You can start with 3 reps and work your way upto 5 to 7 reps later. 

Alternative
An alternative version is to perform the leg extension as a dynamic/isotonic exercise. When your leg is extended, slowly move it up and down while keeping the muscle tensed. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions and then switch to the other side.

5. 20-20-20 Rule

Now this is technically not an exercise per se, but an eye-exercise I would say, to relax your eyes. After long periods of working, looking at the computer screen, the UV rays emitted have an impact on the eyes and make you feel so tired. 

So remember this golden rule whenever you are staring at the computer screen or even your mobile phones for a long time. 

How to perform- Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. That’s it so simple and yet so effective. 

So there you are, those were very simple yet effective exercises you can do in your office or anywhere else you want to. 

Do try these and let us know if you have any doubts. 

Stay tuned for more upcoming posts and let us know what kind of health related posts you would like to see here.

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