"What's that guy doing?" Most of us would probably feel too self-conscious about doing exercises at our desks in an open-plan office. But now that you're working from home –thanks to the novel coronavirus – and nobody's watching, this is your chance to integrate a small seated routine to keep your body limber.
No matter how ergonomic your chair is, and no matter how perfect your posture, health experts say it's unhealthy to sit for long periods of time on the job – be it in an office or if you're working from home.
Our bodies aren't built for a sedentary lifestyle, remarks Ingo Froboese, head of the Centre for Health Through Sport and Exercise at the German Sport University (DSHS) in Cologne, Germany.
The initial consequences of constant sitting are neck, shoulder and back pain from tense muscles. Over the long term, health problems and illnesses can follow because one of the adverse effects of a lack of exercise is that it slows down your metabolism.
The good news is that countermeasures are simple. While you can't completely avoid sitting if you've got a desk job and are in front of the computer all day, little exercises can give your muscles and metabolism a bit of a boost.
Froboese recommends shoulder rolls, for instance. With your arms hanging loosely at your sides and your back straight, slowly rotate your shoulders forward, making big circles, for about 30 seconds. Then repeat the movement backwards, taking your time.
If you don't want to do little exercises at work, you can still move more. Making telephone calls standing up, for example, and regularly getting up from your chair to walk around about every half an hour or so is a good start.