Sitting at a desk eight hours a day is just as much a killer as smoking.
Bet you didn’t know that.
I don’t say this to scare you. I just want you to be aware what you’re up against in your tedious 9-5.
I have a simple guide to instant relaxation (that you can do at your desk) to improve how you think, work, and feel, while reducing your risk of premature passing at the same time.
The Mayo Clinic released research detailing how people who sit for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity have the same risk of dying as smokers.
The key to this statistic is “no physical activity.” Sitting at your desk, typing away at work isn’t going to blacken your lungs and shrivel up your heart.
But if you don’t move more than to go to the bathroom during the day, your muscles and your mind will deteriorate more and more.
That being said, I know you can’t bust out 20 pushups in the middle of your office; your boss wouldn’t take too kindly to discover you’ve created your own personal gym.
That’s why I have a guide for you to follow. It’s comprised of 5 simple movements you can do in your chair that will increase blood flow.
Increasing blood flow, especially after having been still for a long period of time, is helpful to your brain as well. It will keep your thoughts flitting about, immune to that afternoon slump.
The 5 movements I’m going to tell you about are yoga poses.
Now, if you’ve never done yoga before, that’s okay. You don’t need anything but a chair and your body to do these.
It does, however, help to know how the whole practice started.
Yoga began in ancient India. There are thousand-year-old statues scattered throughout the country reflecting religious beings and important figures performing yoga poses.
In that time, it was used as a way to achieve harmony between your heart and your soul, on the path to divine enlightenment.
If you don’t remember your world history, that belief is often consistent with Buddhism, a popular religion in the Eastern Hemisphere.
While yoga is not specifically Buddhist, nor Hindu (the other popular religion in that region), all three actually came from the same texts.
The Vedas were the Indian holy texts from 1900BC. The writings within pertained to spiritual practices, and birthed entire religions just as much as exercise classes.
The poses I’m going to tell you about aim to loosen tense muscles, harmonize your heart rate and breathing, and relax you to continue the workday.
Your number one concern about sitting all day should be tight legs and hips. Back problems, headaches, and pain can all stem from not properly stretching your legs and hips.
Here are simple ways to get your blood flowing, and keep it that way (hopefully for a very, very long time).
1. Cat and Cow Pose
Sit up straight, and place your feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips forward, and then back, using your core muscles to move.
Inhale and exhale as you go, breathing deeply, and holding each position for a few seconds.
Repeat this several times, and try to feel each muscle stretch and elongate as you move.
2. Pigeon Pose
Put your right foot over your left thigh, so your ankle is on top of your knee. Flex your right foot, and your knee will gently tilt towards the floor.
This will stretch your outer hip, which is an incredibly important joint to keep loose.
Take several deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
3. Staff Pose
Scooch to the front of your chair. Put both legs out in front of you, toes to the ceiling.
Cross your right ankle over your left, and hinge forward at your hips without bending your back.
This should stretch your hamstring, glutes, and outer thigh muscles. Take a few deep breaths, then switch feet.
4. Seated Neck Rolls
Literally roll out the tension I know you feel in your neck and shoulders.
Begin by putting your hands on the arms of your chair, directly below your shoulders.
Your elbows should point straight back, and your fingers should face forward.
Inhale, and lengthen your spine, stretching your head to the ceiling. Exhale, and drop your right ear towards your shoulder. Roll your head in a half circle, inhale deeply looking into your lap, then lift your head.
Pause, then repeat with your left side.
5. Reverse Prayer Pose
This one is especially helpful after long days of nothing but typing.
Put the palms of your hands to your lower back, with your fingertips pointing up.
With proper deep breaths, this should stretch your hands, chest, shoulders, and neck
These movements are designed to re-energize you, and increase blood flow to your organs without strenuous movement.
You don’t have to do these poses just at work either. Any time you feel stiff or sore, take some deep breaths and practice your favorites.
Not only will practiced, relaxing movement keep you focused all day, but it will also leave you feeling happier, healthier, and more productive.