by Susan Johnson
Sitting at a desk all day is hard on the body. Repetitive work-related postures and motions, demanding schedules and less-than-perfect work environments can leave the body and mind drained. One way to relax and refresh your stationary muscles and joints is to do some yoga moves in the office.
Yoga can alleviate the effects of work-related stresses and even just five minutes of simple breathing and stretching can relieve stress, increase productivity and reduce negative effects of prolonged sitting.
There are many benefits of yoga, even simple exercises done at a desk and may include the following:
- Enhanced memory and decision making
- Increased energy, stamina, and mental alertness
- Improved flexibility, strength, and overall health
- Improved posture and body awareness
- A stronger immune system
- Increased ability to manage emotions
Five-minute Yoga Workout
1. Forward bend — eases tension in upper back and neck. Breathe in and bend forward. Breathe out and let the head and arms hang over the knees. Relax into the position and hold for a few seconds while breathing normally. Breathe in and slowly come back up to seated position.
2. Spinal twist — increases circulation and flexibility in the spine. Sit facing forward and place the left hand on the outside of the right knee. Place the right arm over the back of the chair. Breathe in and breathe out, twisting to the right and turning the head as well. Push against the right knee to create more leverage. Breathe normally and hold the position. Release slowly and come back to facing forward and repeat on the opposite side.
3. Side stretch — increases flexibility of the spinal column, improves respiration, and reduces waistline. Sit facing forward with feet slightly apart, breathe in and raise arms out to the sides. Breathe out and bend to the left, reaching toward the floor with the left hand and the right hand pointing toward the ceiling. Breathe in and come back to starting position. Repeat on the right side.
4. Knee squeeze — relaxes lower back, improves digestion and respiration. Breathe out completely, then breathe in as you use both hands to grab around the front of the knee pulling it to the chest, while holding the in breath. Lower the head to the knee, hold for a few seconds and release slowly while breathing out. Repeat on the right side.
To learn more exercises that can be done at a desk, visit MUSC Wellness Center staff in the Children's Hospital lobby from 11 a.m - 1 p.m., Aug. 31 or sign up for the lunch and learn by emailing email@example.com. Space is limited.
Employee Wellness events
- Lunch & Learn - Desk Exercise: Exercise Bands for Fitness from 12:15 - 12:45 p.m., Aug. 31 in Room 118, Colbert Education Center & Library. Take 30 minutes during lunch to learn how a 10-minute exercise band workout performed at a workstation can lead to better health and fitness. Free exercise bands for all attendees. Space is limited so register at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Join MUSC Employee Wellness Heart Walk Team. American Heart Association's 2011 Lowcountry Heart Walk will take place from 8 -11 a.m. Sept. 17, at Liberty Square near the South Carolina Aquarium. Visit http://www.startlowcountrysc.org to join the MUSC Employee Wellness Team. Free pedometers for team members.
Email email@example.com to become involved in employee wellness at MUSC.