Remote work has a lot of us practically chained to our desks, or worse, adopt positions that cause pain after a while, while typing away into threads of emails, standing up only for the occasional bathroom breaks. Some of us might even have developed the bad habit of eating while working.
It doesn’t take long to figure out that this lack of activity—more accentuated in this time of pandemic as community quarantines continue to prevail amid surges in new infections—can and will take a toll on our bodies. Muscle pains, tighter clothes, joint pain, and increased difficulty in breathing are just some of the telltale signs that your body is begging you to move. But with the pandemic’s effects on establishments such as the gym, and the relatively more idle setup of working from home, regular physical activity seems to be out of reach.
Fortunately, being desk-bound doesn’t completely rid us of the ability to exercise. There are still a few simple exercises we can do to keep our bodies well-oiled and toned—and most of these can be done while sitting down!
Desk Push-Ups / Wall Push-Ups
If your desk is sturdy enough, you may want to use it for some push-ups. To do this, place your hands flat on your desk, making sure they are apart by a bit more than your shoulder width. Once that’s okay, try lowering yourself towards your desk, all while maintaining posture, tucking in your core. Finally, push yourself back until your arms are straight (but not locked!). Try to do this 20 times!
If you don’t trust your desk to carry your body weight, or if you can’t handle that deep of a push-up yet, you can try doing wall push-ups. Stand a few steps from a solid wall then place your hands on it. Again, make sure that the distance between them is a little wider than your shoulder width. Similar to the desk push-ups, you will have to lower yourself towards the wall, maintaining posture, and tucking in your core. Make sure your body is straight the entire time. Then, push yourself back until your arms are straight (but not locked!). Do this for 20 reps.
While you are seated, spread your feet wide, but make sure they are planted firmly on the ground. Extend your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height, as though you are the small letter ‘T’. Then, slowly move your arms in a circular motion, going backward first, for 20 reps. Upon completing this, move them in the opposite direction, also for 20 reps.
This one requires you to sit straight up, again, with feet flat on the floor. Keeping your core tight, lift one leg carefully, then put it down and lift the other. If you want a bigger challenge, you can choose to lift both legs at the same time. 20 reps will be perfect.
Biceps Towel Curl
This one requires a full-sized towel. You’re going to have to secure its center under your chair (or you can sit on it) while making sure each of your hands is holding both of its ends. Now, making sure your back is straight, all that’s left to do now is to contract your biceps, curling the towel upward. Make sure your upper arms and elbows are pinned to your sides, and that all the movement is coming from your lower arms. Pull your hardest using both arms, and then hold for as long as you can. Repeat this process three times.
Place your palms down on the parts of the seat next to your hips—you will need support for this next exercise. (Make sure your seat is sturdy before trying this!) Now, straighten your back, and try lifting your left foot off the ground, keeping your knees bent as though you’re marching. Do this until your left thigh is at the highest you can allow it, then bring it back down slowly. Do this with your right leg. You can lean back while maintaining posture if it helps. Do this for a total of 30 reps, for at least three sets. (RF/Headline PH)