Are you a desk potato? Studies show that poor posture, repetitive motion and staying in the same position can cause or worsen your musculoskeletal disorders.
Working all day at your desk can take a toll on your mind and body. Giving your body the TLC it requires, by doing some quick stretches fills sufficient fuel to your energy reserves.
Swedish researchers say that if you devote work time for exercise or other health-promoting measures you can still achieve the same or even higher production levels. The increased productivity may be due to increased stamina or less absenteeism owing to sickness.
Tips to Boost Your Daytime Productivity
- Listen to music
- Switch off all notifications because they might hinder your productive streak
- Sitting for extended periods of time can negatively impact your physical health so get a breath of fresh air.
- Clustered and messy workplaces lower your productivity levels so just cleanup your working spot.
- Include some entertainment in your downtime. It may be Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, whatever it may be. Use it to your advantage. So when you have to do the actual work, you’ll be less drawn to distractions.
- Meditation is a powerful tool to increase your productivity. A Harvard University study reports that meditation can increase the size of brain regions related to focused attention, memory and deep thought.
- A short nap might boost your productivity. If you close your eyes for 10 to 20 minutes, it will help increase retention of facts and creativity.
- Alter your lighting. Light with a bluish hue can spark productivity. Research studies say that blue hue has a similar effect to 240 mg of caffeine.
- Expressing gratitude will change your mind and help increase well-being and productivity. Close your eyes. Think about one thing that you’re grateful for. Then bring to mind the sights, sounds and smells related to gratitude, these actions make you more creative and calm.
- Make a micro-connection. Have a face to face quality conversation with someone; it releases high-performance feel-good hormones in the brain. Show genuine curiosity, be mindful and present.
- Free brain clutter. Too much information, meetings, multitasking between projects exhaust your brain’s ability to produce quality work. So dump the unwanted information in your mental wastebasket to increase your productivity.
- Rewire your energy. Negative emotions deplete your energy making them less focused. Rewire your brain to positive thoughts to enhance performance. Sit straight, focus on your breathing, observe your mind, and say peace, gratitude, and compassion. These steps give your brain a quick energy boost. It strengthens your anterior cingulate, which controls your rational and emotional mind.
Stretches to Boost Daytime Productivity
Stretching is a buildable habit.If you’re a starter, set a timer to remind you to take a quick walk or stretch. You can do your stretches even if you’re hard-pressed for time. Scroll down for the tutorial on working out those computer kinks.
Triceps Stretches. Raise your arms.Bend it, so your hands reach the opposite sides.With your other hand pull your elbow towards your head, be in this position for 10-30 seconds.Repeat on the other side.
Overhead Stretch. Extend one arm overhead. Take it to the opposite side.Maintain this posture for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Upper Body Stretch. Bring your hands above your head and clasp them together with palms facing outward.Push your arms up, stretching upward. Hold in this position for 10-30 seconds.
Shoulder Stretch. Clasp hands behind your back. Bring your chest forward and slowly raise your chin. Hold this pose for 20-40 seconds.
Upper Back Stretch. Clasp your hands in front of you. Gently lower your head in line with your arms. Come forward and hold for 20-40 seconds.
Trunk Rotation. Keep your feet firmly on the ground facing forward. Rest your right arm on the back of your chair. Twist your body in that direction. Hold this pose for 10-30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Exhale as you lean for a greater range of motion.
Hip and Knee Stretch. Sit on a firm chair. Hold your right knee and pull it towards your chest. Hold in this position for 10-30 seconds. Alternate on the other side.
Hamstrings Stretch. Sitting on a firm chair extend your right leg outward. Bend and reach your toes. Hold for 20-40 seconds. Come back up slowly and repeat on the other side.
Head and Shoulder Stretches
Shoulder Shrug. Sit in a chair. Raise both your shoulders at once towards your ears. Drop them and repeat ten times.
Neck Stretches. Sit gently, relax and lean your head forward. Slowly roll towards your right side and hold for 10 seconds. Now repeat on the left side. Relax and lift your chin towards the starting position. Perform this routine three times on each side.
Upper Trap Stretch. Sit on a chair and place right hand on your head. Now pull your head gently towards your right shoulder until a slight stretch is felt. Hold the pose for ten seconds. Alternate on the other side.
Cow and Cat Pose Yoga
Cat cow is a gentle flow between two poses that warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine. It helps to stretch your back torso and neck slowly.
Come into the cow pose. Inhale and gently lift your chin and chest and gaze up toward the ceiling. Slowly move into cat pose and exhale. Draw your belly toward your spine and gently round your back toward the roof.
The pose looks like a cat stretching its back. Slowly release the crown of your head toward the floor. Inhale coming back into the Cow pose and then exhale as you return to cat pose. Repeat five times.
Tutorial: Dolvett Quince
Leg Lift Abs. Bring your knees to your chest back and forth, up and down. Try to do four sets of 12 repetitions.
Triceps Dips. Four sets of 10 to 12. Take your butt all the way off of the chair dropping yourself up, locking those elbows, taking your body weight all the way down. Slowly come back to the starting position.This exercise tones your triceps muscles.
Booty Squats. Four sets of 10. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Criss cross your fingers and lock your elbows. Sit down at the end of your chair. Come back right up. Hold your squat for 30 seconds.
Bicep Curls. Four sets of 12. Take your chair and use it as weight. Just curl nice and tall, all the way down and all the way up.
Low lunges release tension in your hips. It stretches your hamstrings, groin, and quads. Strengthens your knees and helps build mental focus.
Come down to the floor on your knees. Gently bring your right leg forward. Stretch your left back with your left shin on the floor. Place your hands on top of your right thigh, just above your knees.
Keep your upper body straight and your lower belly engaged to support your lower back. You’ll begin to feel the stretch in your left psoas muscle or front of your left hip. Breathe slowly in and out to go deeper into the stretch.
If you sense that your right knee is shifting beyond your right ankle, bring your right foot forward a little bit. Take three long deep breaths and come back to the seated position on your knees. Repeat on the other leg.
Wrist and Finger Stretches
Pull both your hands in front of you and clench both your fists. Count ten and make circles in the air on the right side. Repeat the exercise on the left side. Then shake out your hands.
Point your fingers.
This exercise is good for wrist, hands, and forearms. Stretch your left hand to your front. Point your fingers towards the floor. Use your right hand to increase your stretch. Gently push your fingers down and towards your body.
Repeat the same process with the other hand. Stretch your left hand straight in front. Bend your wrist with fingers pointing skyward. With your right hand, increase the stretch and pull the fingers back toward the body. Repeat on the other side.
Stress Ball Squeeze
Stress balls are filled with a flexible gel or clay, and you can hold these balls in the palm of your hands. When you repeatedly press the stress balls, they relieve tension and stress. They boost your blood circulation.You can eve use stress balls as a tool for meditation.
When you squeeze the ball, it activates the muscles of your hand and wrist. Releasing the grip allows your hand muscles to relax. The muscles in your hands can become weak due to overuse, arthritis, or sprain. The stress ball helps to rehabilitate and strengthen your hand muscles.
When you use the computer and cell phones over a period,it can result in injury called as repetitive strain injuries, using the stress ball prevents such injuries and make your muscles more flexible.Hold the ball in the palm of your hand and squeeze it as tight as possible. Grip the ball for five seconds and release. Repeat ten times.
The chair forward bend stimulates the abdominal area as well elongate the spine and stretch your lower back region. Sit on a firm chair make sure you scoot up a little bit. Your legs should be about shoulder width apart. Rest your feet flat on the floor.
Sit nice and straight. Come into the mountain pose. Bring your arms up over the head. Slowly start to bend forward and touch your palms to the ground. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.Then come back to the sitting position slowly. Go back to the mountain pose and exhale. Repeat six times
Standing Leg Raises
Tutorial: Layla Luciano
Start off standing; you’re going to put all your weight on one leg. Take the other leg,point the toe and turn the toe outwards the side at an angle of 45 degrees.
Lift your leg up and lower it down. Make sure your upper body is stable, your abs and your core stay nice and tight. So when you lift the leg, you don’t shift the weight back with the leg lift.
You’ll feel the stretch in the quad and the inner thigh area. Youcan dothis leglifts about 10 to 12 reps on either side.
Tai Chi Exercise at Your Desk
Raise your hands with palms up and slowly bring them down with palms down. Repeat this Taichi move three times.
For the second movement imagine that you have big heavy balls like a bowling ball in each hand. Start rotating your hands as if you have this massive ball in each hand. Little by little increase the speed of your rotation.You’ll feel fat heavy air balls in your hand.
Third Movement: Push one hand away and then pull it towards yourself. Alternate both your hands pushing and pulling at the level of your heart and solar plexus. You can increase the speed gradually. Repeat this motion for 2 minutes.
Fourth movement: Take one hand and put it to your side and you rotate it to the other side. Switch hands,your shoulders, and face should be facing your hand.
Fifth movement: Cross your hands in front of your heart, expand them in front of you. Move them to your sides as far as you can. Rotate your arms to the back and up to your chest. Repeat ten times.
Sixth Movement: Push your hands in front of you and cross them to one side and repeat on the other side. Cross your hands at the heart level and extend your hands one up and one down. Cross them again and repeat on the other side.
Long working hours, excessive workloads and unmanaged stress levels can lead to alack of caring for your personal health both body and mind. This condition may result in a burnout and lower your productivity levels.
Stretching your body improves flexibility, leaves you refreshed, boosts your brain power and increases your productivity. Above all stretching helps you find your optimal work life balance.
Try the stretches we’ve discussed above, though you may not feel comfortable at first, slowly you’ll be used to it. These exercises certainly aren’t the end-all of all the exercises you can do to keep your productivity high. If you want to share some tips or thoughts on anything mentioned here, drop a comment below.