10 ways to keep body and brain fresh

PHOTO: 10 ways to keep body and brain fresh

The human body is made to move, not sit for hours a day in an office chair, health experts said.

For desk jockeys who cannot find the time to hit a gym, there are a few mini-workouts that you can do while in the office.

Any amount of exercise helps, even 60-second to 10-minute bursts, experts urged, and the benefits are cumulative.

And, while your boss may prefer you glued to your office chair, moving around throughout the day can increase productivity by keeping your body and brain fresh, according to WebMD.

1. Check your screen

The first order of business is to avoid bad posture by ensuring that your screen is high enough so you that are not looking down, which can strain your head and neck.

A good rule of thumb: the centre of your screen should be at eye level.

2. Move it

Take the stairs, two at a time, at least five or seven times a day.

3. Exercise while you commute

Make getting to work a workout. If you drive, for example, park in the farthest part of the carpark.

If you live near your workplace, walk or ride a bicycle. Alternatively, you can alight one or two bus stops earlier and walk to your office.

4. Combat computer slouch

Strengthen your rhomboid muscles (the ones that squeeze your shoulder blades together) to avoid wrecking your posture from long hours at the computer.

While seated at your desk, stretch your arms out straight from your sides. Rotate your hands so your thumbs are pointing behind you. Then squeeze your shoulder blades together by trying to move your hands further behind you.

5. Move around, go outside

Get up and walk outside, for as many as 15 minutes for every 45 minutes of work. Chances are, you are productive for shorter bursts of time and frequent, small breaks help keep you energised throughout the day.

Suggest "walking meetings" and get up from your desk to see a colleague rather than e-mail or call him.

6. Shadow box

Use a vacant conference room or office, and shadow box for a few minutes. Or simply walk around the room as fast as you can.

7. Office-chair core workout

Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat. Then place your hands on the armrests, tighten your stomach muscles and raise yourself a few centimetres above the seat, using your belly muscles and hands.

Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat five times.

8. Office-chair leg workout

While seated in your chair, extend one leg straight in front of you. Hold for two seconds. Then raise it up as high as you can, and hold it again for two seconds. Repeat with each leg 15 times.

9. Push-ups and squats

Every time you take a toilet or coffee break, commit to doing 10 push-ups and 10 squats.

10. Get a standing desk

While your boss may not want to fork out the cash for a hydraulic-powered standing desk, you can always improvise. There are lots of ideas online on how to turn your workstation into a standing desk.