Desk health exercises

General exercise advice

It is generally acknowledged that regular exercise can produce natural pain relieving chemicals in the body and increase general wellbeing. Starting a programme of regular exercise can be the start to increasing your activity levels and go a long way to boosting your rehabilitation. Remember to always start any new activity slowly and cautiously.

NHS Direct recommends the following in regards to exercise. A full transcript can be found at NHS Direct

Exercise can:

  • reduce the risk of heart attack
  • reduce the risk of developing long-term diseases
  • increase life expectancy and improve quality of life in later years
  • increase confidence
  • improve posture
  • provide natural pain relief 
  • have a positive effect on breathing, blood supply, muscles, and bones.

For those beginning a new exercise routine, ‘little and often’ is most beneficial and is particularly useful for those who have difficulty finding spare time. 

Those wanting to improve their health by taking up regular moderate exercise may try taking a brisk walk or doing a few laps of the local swimming pool.  As little as a brisk thirty minute walk, five times a week will provide some of the most important health benefits. 

Because exercise increases energy levels this may also alleviate tiredness and stress after a long hard day.

If you have not been physically active for some time, gentle, steady progress is most important. Be careful not to overdo it at first, and check out the safety advice before you start.

One good way to start exercising is to carry on with your everyday routine, but do things in a way that requires a bit more energy. Build these activities into your daily lifestyle and try to become a little more active every day:

  • Try getting off the bus or train a stop early and walking the rest of the way.
  • Use the stairs instead of the lift
  • Walk or cycle, rather than drive 

To increase your level of activity you can gradually progress to more demanding exercise on a more regular basis. If possible, this should make you breathe harder and a little faster, and raise your pulse. 

The key is to do activities that you enjoy and that you can do on most days of the week.  Just half an hour of moderate activity a day is all it takes to improve overall fitness and health.

For example:

  • Take a brisk walk (not just a stroll)
  • Cycle slowly
  • Have a leisurely swim
  • Light gardening
  • Low-impact aerobics
  • Dancing
  • Play tennis

Make sure that you drink plenty of water when exercising to prevent dehydration.

Suggested exercise

You may be interested in finding out about local classes in Pilates, Yoga or Alexander technique. 

Pilates is a series of exercises designed to improve flexibility and strength through a variety of stretching and balancing movements. Pilates especially appeals to dancers because the workout aids in flexibility without causing muscles to bulk. It is also said to prevent injury and improve posture. Because Pilates are gentle exercises without a lot of bouncing around or muscular stress, it’s recommended to those seeking rehabilitation through physical therapy.

Yoga is a series of gentle exercises, designed to achieve balance between the body and mind.  It is best taught by qualified instructors and is said to encourage physical suppleness and flexibility, improve breathing and blood flow, and help prevent anxiety and stress-related problems.

Alexander Technique is a method that works to change movement habits in your everyday activities. It helps to make you aware of balance, posture and co-ordination and aims to help you to relearn the correct way to hold and to move your body and release unnecessary muscular tension.


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