Staff at the Countess of Chester Hospital have been channelling the spirit of the Rio 2016 Olympics by showcasing exercises people can do anywhere.
During the Games it can be easy to find inspiration to take up a sport or exercise more, only for the demands of daily life to soon get in the way.
Physiotherapist Andrew Brown has demonstrated a number of movements that can be built into breaks at the office or at home to improve flexibility, stretch muscles and make people feel better throughout the day.
“The Olympics inspires everyone,” Andrew said. “Watching the amazing things that the athletes can do makes you want to try yourself, even if it’s unlikely most of us will ever be able to stand on a podium it does make you want to do more.
“Getting exercise into our daily routines is the challenge because we are more sedentary now than we’ve ever been before.
“But even doing a little bit at lunch times could make workers more productive instead of hitting that mid-afternoon slump we can all get between 2-3pm.”
NHS England recommends that people should complete around 35 minutes of exercise five times a week, with several programmes available to provide support such as the Couch to 5K plan.
However, even if somebody is very active in their downtime they can still benefit from trying out a few moves to break up their day sitting at a desk.
Andrew added: “It’s going to increase their metabolism, it’s going to make them feel better and it’s going to help them to improve their posture, which will generally reduce aches and pains that you might have after you finish work.
“Getting up from your desk is such an important thing but just taking the time when you have got it to do some little movements just to get the circulation going can make a big difference. You always feel better when you exercise so that’s a huge positive.”
Thigh Slide – Place your hands on your knees in your swivel chair. Keeping your lower body and head still, turn your upper body to your right and move your right hand towards your hip. Repeat this motion with your left hand as you turn the other way.
Reach Up and Back – Reach up above your head with both hands clasped together, keeping your back straight. Hold for a few seconds and feel the stretch through.
Rotation with Overpressure – Place one hand on the back of your chair and turn your back and upper body to that side, stretching out your muscles as you look behind you. Hold for a few seconds and repeat on the other side.
Wrist Flexor Stretch – Put your arm out in front of you and hold your palm up away from your body with your other hand. Hold the stretch for a few seconds on each side. This is a great stretch for computer workers.
Kettle Kick Backs – First, check no one is behind you! Standing tall balance on one leg and bring the other one forward and backward in a controlled kicking motion. You can hold on to a counter or surface in front of you if balancing is tough. Focus on squeezing the muscles in your leg as you do it. Complete 10 on each leg. This one is great for while the kettle is boiling or you’re waiting for something to print.
Sit to Stand – Move from a sitting position to a standing one without leaning on the arms of your chair or the desk in front of you. This is something you could try to consciously do every time you need to get up out of your chair to walk around the office. If you decide to do a series of these one after the other just be careful with your office chair if it’s on wheels.
Office Push Up – Only do these if you feel comfortable. Incline press ups can be done on any desk or printer when you get five minutes. Try to do 10. If a desk or a printer is too low you can do them up against a wall.
Desk Posture – Although this isn’t an exercise, having the correst posture at your desk can make a huge difference. Sit close to your desk. Adjust height of chair so your elbows are at right angles with your upper arms. Your forearms should be parallel to and just above the desktop. Your hips should be slightly higher than your knees. Your eyes should be level with your display screen. Rest your keyboard roughly 10cm in front of the edge of your desk.
However, even sitting at a desk with good posture is not recommended for very long periods. Getting up and moving about is essential.