Productive healthy office work – The exercises

Productive healthy office work – the exercises

Last year I was at a health expo organised by Bupa who are a long time partner of ours. Along with myself doing brief Physiotherapy checks there was also a dietitian, cardiac nurse and podiatrist also doing similar checks.

In the break I chatted with them and realised that all four of us had the same first question: How often do you exercise?

Why was that? I knew from my Physio knowledge how important it was for health and wellbeing. It was interesting to learn that it was such a key factor in these other specialties of health too.

More and more evidence comes out each year about the importance of regular exercise not only in physical health but also mental health too. As they say – move it or lose it!

But where do we start when wanting to build an exercise routine?

But where do we start when wanting to build an exercise routine?

There are four key areas to good physical health so it’s worth doing a mix of exercise to cover them all. These are:

  1. Core strength
  2. Flexibility
  3. Cardiovascular fitness
  4. Body awareness
Healthy female exercising PHW Group
Healthy female exercising PHW Group

Core strength

Theraband Posture exercises

Resistance bands (Therabands) are a great way remind us to get up and activate the shoulder blade muscles that we often neglect. They are small and so handy to carry around. They are also bright and shiny and seem to call out to you… “Use me!”
Using them regularly can improve your posture and core strength greatly.

There are two particularly handy exercises that are simple to do. See the exercise sheet here for details.

download guide exercises

Resistance bands, or Therabands are easily obtained from Physio Clinics, sports stores, some gyms, pharmacies or shopped for on line. Contact us if you want us to point you in the right direction.

Back strengthening exercises

Most people have heard of Pilates. This form of exercise focuses on strengthening the core. Some simple and safe Pilates exercises can be found in this sheet below.

Do them slowly and regularly and you will be pleasantly surprised how much they can help improve your core strength which helps prevent / reduce back pain.

The key with doing core strength exercises well is not to work the muscles hard, but simply hold a gentle tension in them while you are moving other body parts. These muscles are like our natural back brace. A fabulously dynamic, flexible, water proof and all natural back brace!

Healthy female exercising PHW Group

download guide exercises

Flexibility

Easy Back stretches

Popping down on the floor to do some simple back stretches can really help you stay subtle and pain free.

The key to stretching well is to be patient and well supported as you do them. Try these simple exercises in the sheet below.

It’s nice to do these exercises in a quiet place with carpet and/or yoga matt. Try to make sure the dog or small kids can’t jump on you, it’s fun but totally breaks your stride.

Healthy female exercising PHW Group

download guide exercises

Cardiovascular fitness

Working to improve this does not have to mean you have to sign up to some radical class at great expense. Of course you can if you want to. But cardio is improved with simple activities too.

Below are some of the many types of exercise that improve your cardiovascular fitness (vaguely in order of simplest to more zany):

  • Walking
  • Using weights or resistance bands
  • Exercise bike
  • Water walking
  • Swimming
  • Jogging
  • Rowing machine
  • Gym routines
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Aerobics
  • Sports

So many options. Surely one or two of those can be fun to do? Joining with friends often helps.

healthy-female-yoga
Healthy female exercising PHW Group

Body awareness

Even if you are really strong, really flexible and really fit, you can still do yourself an injury by not being conscious of how you move and how you hold your body.

As a Physio I’ve seen this a zillion times. Perhaps a poor lifting technique to get your two year old out of a car? Grabbing a piece of paper off the floor? Sneezing while throwing your head forwards while your hair is tied up in a wet towel? All ways people injure themselves when they are not thinking or in a rush. I’m sure you can add to the list.

It’s a cliché I know, but you only have one body. Look after it and be it’s friend. Our website has lots of information about how to set up your workplace and structure your week to be fit and well and relatively pain free. But be aware your wellbeing also comes down to moment by moment decisions that you are making. Things like:

  • Using good posture when you exercise
  • Not rushing too much
  • Knowing when to stop
  • Not increasing your exercise levels too suddenly (new years resolution anyone?)

Ways to improve body awareness include:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Dancing
  • Martial Arts like Tai Chi
  • Any exercise that involves getting in touch with your body

For more information on office ergonomics check out our resources tab which has a wealth of resources including:

  • Neck stretches
  • Arm stretches
  • Leg exercises
  • The Movement Movement guide
  • Other helpful guides on Ergonomics and more
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