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Six easy exercises to do at your desk

Doing simple moves at your desk can help reduce the negative effects of sitting all day long. Photo: Madelene Cronje

As a teacher, you spend a lot of time working at your desk. And while it’s a necessity of the job, it can take its toll on your wellbeing. However, there are a few simple moves you can do to reduce these negative effects by improving your circulation and stretching your muscles without even getting up from your seat.

Try out these six easy desk exercises while you’re marking papers or planning your next class.

Body Posture

Before starting any exercise, it’s essential that you perfect your posture while seated. Start by ensuring that your feet are flat on the floor. Adjust your chair height to place your feet, hips and arms at 90⁰ angles to the floor. Flex your stomach muscles to help keep your back straight. Your head should be in line with your body. Try to keep your muscles relaxed while still maintaining a healthy posture. You need to stay comfortable too!

Ankle Stretches

Stretch young ankles under your desk by rotating your foot in one direction and then the other direction a few times. Try tracing the figure eight or run through the letters of the alphabet. Repeat for each ankle.

Leg Lifts

While seated, straighten one or both legs and hold them up for five seconds. Flex your stomach muscles. Lower your legs without letting your feet touch the ground. Repeat this for 15 lifts per leg. This should work your hamstrings and abs.

Hand Clasps

Sit up with your feet flat on the floor. Clasp your hands together as if giving yourself a handshake. Then pull, hold for 10 seconds and release. You should feel the resistance in your biceps.

Head shakes

Sit facing forward, turn your head to the left and your upper body to the right. Hold for five seconds. Repeat 15 times, alternating on each side.

Shoulder shrugs

Raise both shoulders up towards your ears and hold for 5 seconds. Release. Repeat a few times and you should feel the tension in your neck and shoulders ease.


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