Get Up and Move to Recharge Your Creativity
Quick Exercises to Do in Your Office
As designers, we often spend countless hours sitting at our desks and staring at our computers. We often forget we need to get our blood circulating and step away for a bit because we think we’re not being productive. However, numerous studies have shown that if you take a break and incorporate some form of physical activities in your break, your productivity will increase. Here I am going to list 5 exercises and activities you can do to stay healthy and boost creativity and productivity.
**Legal Disclaimer: If you are physically unable to do these exercise or have any injuries or pre-existing conditions preventing you from doing these exercise, do not attempt. I am not a physician or certified personal trainer, so do any or all exercises at your own discretion and liability. These exercises are merely suggestions that I like to do to get energized at the office.**
Take a Walk
I know this technically requires you to leave your office, but this is by far the easiest thing a designer or any creative sitting at a desk can do to help boost creativity. By getting out from behind the computer and out of the office for even 5 minutes, you will get your blood flowing and give your eyes a rest from that harsh screen. You can also take this time to look at the world around you and see what design surrounds your office or what nature you can see and get inspired. Even if you just take a quick walk around your building or go get a bagel or some healthy snack, by reconnecting with the world you will be reminded of who you’re designing for and get inspired.
Push-ups are one of my favorite things to do in my office if I’m feeling stiff. Often times I find my posture slacking when I’m sitting in a chair for a long time so I tend to slouch or slide down in my chair. This puts a ton of strain on my back and shoulders and I can feel the stress and tension form knots that just make sitting there a physical pain. Doing push-ups helps alleviate that tension in my trapezius and stretches my shoulders and chest and also contracts my core which will help my posture when I return to sitting down. Push-ups are not only a great upper body workout, but also allow me to fix my posture and help my back pain and you can do them anywhere! Do 3 sets of 10-15 throughout your day and you’ll see improvement in your posture.
This is a great exercise that is low impact and fantastic in stretching some of those high tension areas in your back, like your deltoids and trapezius. To do this, start standing with your feet about shoulder width apart and your arms straight out to either side, palms facing out. I’ll call this the “resting position.” With your arms still straight, bring your arms together and “clap” your hands. Now go back to the resting position with your arms up and to the side, palms out. Then bring your arms above your head, rotating your elbows so you “clap” your hands above your head, arms still straight. Return to the resting position and that’s one rep. Do this 20 to 30 times and take a small break. You will feel your shoulders and your shoulder blades loosen up!
This is a fantastic exercise to stretch your core, lower back, and knees. To do them, start standing, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Keeping your knees straight, reach down and touch the ground (or as low as you can, but try to stretch as far as you can) in between your feet in line with your toes. Maintaining that bent position, touch the ground in line with the middle of the foot and then the spot in line with your heal. This will be very quick touches, so you’re almost bobbing. After you quickly touch the ground in all three spots, stand back up—that’s one repetition. Do that for 10 to 15 reps and you will get a good stretch to get your blood flowing.
If you want to stretch your legs out a little and help your core, high knees are a great choice. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and arms straight out in front of you, palms down. I’ll call this your resting position. Start by bring up your right leg and touching your knee to your left hand, without moving your arms! Your arms SHOULD NOT move! If you can’t reach your hand that’s OK, go as far as you can, focusing on form and the stretch. Go back to the rest position and do the same thing but with your left knee to your right hand. That’s one rep. Do this 10 to 20 times and you’ll feel a good stretch in your quads and your core will become stronger as you balance on one foot.
Bonus: Shoulder Shrugs
If you want a quick exercise you can do sitting down if you need to stretch but can’t escape your desk this works perfectly. Start by sitting up straight and have your back off the backrest of your chair. With your arms down relaxed at your sides, slowly rotate your shoulder back, stretching your shoulder blades together and smoothly move your shoulders in a circle up and forward. Do this slowly 5-10 times, then reverse the motion. You will find your upper back and shoulder looser and not as tense all in under a minute!
Always keep in mind that these are just some of my favorite exercises to do. Never do anything that causes you pain or severe discomfort. You can always talk to your doctor if you want to start your own simple exercises that fits you and your situation and customize it for your current health status. Feel free to modify these exercises as you need to but always remember to keep good form to avoid injury.
Those are my favorite five exercises to do in my office! What are some of your favorite exercises to do at your desk or in your office? Leave a comment with some of your favorites to get you moving that get your heart going and boosts your productivity.
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