Your circulation health can suffer if you are desk-bound all day. Try these 5 simple exercises to improve your circulation and general wellbeing (and help prevent an expanding bottom!)
Your desk job could be killing you! Sounds dramatic, but the health drawbacks of sedentary desk jobs are common knowledge. In fact, emerging research indicates that sitting for long periods of time affects your circulation health, posture (placing unwanted stress on your body), puts you at risk of metabolic syndrome, heart attack and stroke, and slows your metabolism. And that’s apart from that ever-increasing rear end you’re developing.
What is the answer?
Some companies are experimenting with stand-up workstations, but when you’re deep in a project at your traditional desk, you often forget to move across to them. It’s a difficult situation. No one wants to die early because they’ve spent their working lives at a desk, but for the majority of people there’s little option – it’s the desk or bust.
But bad health affects your work too. The solution? Make a conscious decision, set a timer if necessary, to remind you to take a break every couple of hours to get your body moving and boost circulation health.
Try these five circulation health exercises
- Seated spinal twist. This restorative yoga pose releases tension that collects in your back after sitting for long periods of time. Swivel sideways in your chair, place both feet flat on the floor and elongate your spine from the top of your head down to your tailbone.
Once you’ve stabilised your spine, inhale and cross your right leg over your left. While exhaling, twist your body from your lower stomach towards your crossed right leg. Repeat the exercise on both sides to get maximum benefits from the pose.
- Forward bend. Forward bending at your desk can inject fresh oxygen into your brain and gives your spine a useful stretch. Position your feet on the floor so they’re wider than hip-width apart (or wide enough to allow your shoulders to fit between your knees). Then bend forward until your shoulders are between your knees and your head hangs toward the floor. ‘If you’re not very flexible or have lower-back issues, try leaning forward while resting your forearms on your knees. You can still benefit from the pose by stretching your spine into a partial forward bend,’ advises The Huffington Post’s Healthy Living division. Do this if you tend to slouch back in your chair, hunch over in front of your computer, or spend long periods leaning on an armrest.
- Use a stability ball. Prolonged sitting on an office chair can affect blood circulation, whereas sitting on an exercise ball can boost circulation health throughout all parts of your body. Balancing your weight on an exercise ball forces you to keep your balance, strengthening your abdominal muscles, improve your posture and burn a few more kilojoules every hour. However, only sit on it as long as it you’re comfortable.
- Exercise your hands and wrists. If you type for long periods at a time and start cramping up, try this hand exercise to boost circulation health and improve blood flow from your palms to your fingertips. You’ll also ward off carpal tunnel syndrome. Result!
- Get up and walk around. It seems like Good Sense 101, but how often haven’t you looked up from your computer to discover that you’ve been hard at work for a few hours without moving? Getting up from your desk, standing while chatting on the phone or walking around the block can improve circulation health and help reverse the ill effects of being immobile throughout the day.
Other useful tips
- Wear a pedometer and try to walk 10,000 steps per day. Walking boosts metabolism and circulation health, corrects posture and improves overall mood.
- Make frequent trips to the office kitchen or water fountain to hydrate. You’ll also move closer to meeting the daily requirement of drinking at least eight cups of water per day.
- Ignore the hoots of your colleagues and use your office chair to do squats. They work your core muscles and improve your posture. Try doing five sets of eight squats at 30-second intervals. A step too far from your comfort zone? Try wall push-ups. Find a flat wall and push off the surface, doing five sets at 30-second intervals. It’ll boost your blood flow too.
- Get a footrest, even if it’s just a pile of old telephone books. Stretching your legs and resting them above the ground can go a long way to improve circulation health and prevent strain. It’s also more comfortable.
- Jazz up your circulation health with herbal supplements like Flora Force Circulation FormulaTM to improve your circulation health by supporting the blood vessels; Ginkgo biloba may help to manage conditions relating to central circulation; TurmerynneTM supports body functions, circulation and metabolism to improve vitality; Cayenne gives your blood flow a good blast!