Tips To Stay Healthy At Your Desk – Finish It Friday

Many people work at a desk around the world with little time for a break.  With the busy life you need to know how to stay healthy at your desk.  Here are some tips to stay healthy at your desk.

Tip 1: Stay Healthy At Your Desk By Drinking Water

Many of us go about their day plugging away at their work.  So focused that they forget to do anything else, or put it off.  This includes drinking water.  If you want to stay healthy at your desk you need to remember to drink enough water.  It will help keep your attention focused, prevent headaches, and keep your body working like it should.

Tip 2: Stay Healthy At Your Desk By Standing Up

Sitting for long periods of time is bad for your body.  Your body is made to move, it doesn’t process the foods you eat or perform properly if it just sits there.  To Stay healthy at your desk you need to stand up and move.  I get up every hour for at least five minutes.  It doesn’t have to be something fancy.  You can walk in place at your desk, walk to the bathroom, walk to the floor below (or above) and use their bathroom, or anything else that you can use as an excuse to get moving.

Tip 3: Stay Healthy At Your Desk By Stretching Your Fingers

It has long been known that typing all day causes strain on your fingers and wrists.  Make sure that you take a pause every now and then to stay healthy at your desk.  Raise your hand, stretch your fingers in and out, roll your wrists, give your fingers and wrists a break in general.  It might also be a good idea to through in some extra activity to stay healthy at your desk.  Stretch your neck muscles, stretch your arms, extend your legs back and forth.  All of these activities will help to stretch out your body and keep the blood flowing.

Tip 4: Stay Healthy At Your Desk By Considering an Alternate Chair

There are a wide number of companies that sell alternative chairs to use at your desk.  These help you improve your posture and feel better after a long day at work.  You can even use a balance ball.  Sometimes though, your balance ball just doesn’t fit in your cubicle.  This company provides several different office chair alternatives to stay healthy at your desk!

Tip 5: Stay Healthy At Your Desk By Going Phoneless

Now this tip to stay healthy at your desk might not work for everyone but its worth a try.  If you can speak to a co-worker face to face, forget the phone or email.  Get up and walk to them.  It’s a great excuse to get up and move but it also gets you out of the staring at information slump.  It gives social interaction which all of us need.

Tip 6: Stay Healthy At Your Desk By Limiting Your Coffee

I used to think that coffee sucked.  That was before I tried adding a hint of cream and mixing coffee types.  Now I am a firm believer in coffee and drink a mug of it every day I work eight or more hours.  However, I probably shouldn’t.  Coffee, especially coffee with sugar and creamer, don’t help you stay healthy at your desk.  The caffeine messes with your body and adds calories to your day.  Limit your coffee (and other caffeine sources) to one a day.  This will better help you stay healthy at your desk.

Tip 7: Stay Healthy At Your Desk By Taking A Lunch Break

Most of us want to get our work done so we tend to eat our lunch at our desk.  I can be guilty of this too, especially since 3 out of the 4 sites that I work don’t allow me to leave the site during lunch.  Taking a true lunch break where you leave your desk can boost your concentration and give you the time away from work to boost your mood.  To stay healthy at your desk try to take a lunch break away from your desk.  Find a bench outside, go for a walk, move your chair across the room and eat there.  To stay healthy at your desk, you need to leave your desk for lunch.

 

Squat Breaks – Finishing It Friday

Sitting at your desk all day is bad for your health but more importantly it is uncomfortable and will leave butt prints in your chair.  To prevent this from happening take a break at least once every hour.  I personally aim for at least five minutes doing something for every hour I am at the desk.

Squats are known to be a great workout but they put a lot of stress on you and can look a bit out of place when your head keeps popping up over your cubicle.  Plus squats are an active exercise that prevent you from multitasking.  Instead of doing active squats take your breaks “sitting” in the squat position.  These are squat breaks.  Other cultures around the world have used squat breaks for ages to help relax.  Take a look at these guys taking squat breaks:

Squat Breaks

You may find squat breaks difficult at first but the more you do them the better you get at them.  We as Americans aren’t used to holding positions like this so our bodies need to learn.

How To Take Squat Breaks

Simply stand up from your desk, move your chair, and lower yourself down into a squatting position.  When you are lowering yourself down and when you are in the squatting position itself you should make every effort to keep your feet flat on the ground.  When you raise your feet up it throws the position out of wack.

Squat breaks won’t feel like a break at first.  Despite the fact you aren’t raising and lowering your body in an active squat you are still stretching out your body and holding a position you aren’t accustom to.  This will give you a workout.  Do it more to get used to it.  If you can lower your desk you can even work in the squat breaks position.

Sit-Ups – Finish It Friday

I won’t lie about sit-ups, I hate them.  Almost as much as running.  They are a necessary part of testing for law enforcement agencies around the country though so I have to do them.

Despite being among my least favorite exercises, sit-ups are great for working out your abs.  The more you do the better you will get at them.  Unfortunately, people with larger middle sections it can be difficult to perform sit-ups without having someone to hold your feet.  It isn’t impossible though.  I have found a variety of solutions, mainly placing my feet under something such as a desk, a set of shelves, or my bed.  When doing this you need to make sure that the object you are using to hold your body down won’t lift off the ground when you do a sit-up.

There are a variety of different theories behind how many sit-ups you should do at a time.  When I had a trainer we did repetitions of 15 mixed with another two ab working exercises.  This is great because it allows you to keep your abs working instead of burning yourself out all at once.  The other major theory is to do as many as you can, take a break, then do as many as you can.  The problem with this is that when you are taking a break nothing is getting worked out.

If you want to increase the power of your exercise take a kettlebell and hold it in your hands on your upper chest while you workout.  Don’t let the kettlebell move.

How To Perform Sit-Ups

To perform a sit-up start by laying with your back on the floor.  If you need to have something hold your feet get them so that your knees are at an angle but your feet are flat.  You want your feet to move as little as possible.  With your arms out to your sides and your shoulders straight, place your fingertips behind your ears.  During a sit-up your fingertips should not leave your ears.

Lift your upper body up so that your shoulders are off the ground.  The longer that you work at doing sit-ups the further off the ground you can go.  Eventually you will be able to touch your elbows to your knees.  My goal is to be able to touch my elbows to my knees around 38 times in a minute.  The more I perform sit-ups the easier it is to do them.

Here is a video how to perform a proper Army sit-up.  The difference with this video is that the Army has you put your hands interlocked behind your head.

Sore Throat Cures – You Can’t Finish It If You Aren’t Well

Yesterday I got on to write my post and found some issues with the last two posts, I was sick and the only thing I could manage to do was try and fix the issues with the website.  Both of the issues should now be fixed.  I started thinking about what to write for finish it Friday this week and I knew almost instantly what to write.  You can’t finish it on Friday if you are sick.  So here are some of the best sore throat cures from around the internet.  Some of the cures that I have tried, some of them have been reviewed well by people on the internet.

Sore Throat Cures

Chicken Noodle/Chicken Soup

Soup - Cures For Sore Throats

I used to be a huge fan of chicken noodle soup, especially as far as sore throat cures go.  Now the broth from chicken noodle soup tends to leave me with a weird taste.  Just because I don’t like it anymore though doesn’t mean that it isn’t among one of the most popular cures for sore throats.  In fact, when we were out shopping the other day, my fiance told me that we have chicken noodle soup in the cabinet at home and that I should eat it.  Doctors believe that the sodium in the soup broth could be what is causing sore throats to be eased.  Sodium is known to act as an anti-inflammatory.  I have always heard of chicken noodle soup being one of the best sore throat cures but as I was doing the research for this article I found that chicken soup can also be used.  It also helps that soup is easy to eat, even when you have a sore throat.

Hot Totty

Hot Toddy - Cures For Sore Throats

This is a classic recipe for sore throats that you obviously need to be 21 to enjoy.  A hot toddy is a mix of honey, rum, and boiling water.  You can also use an other spirits such as whisky and brandy.  Some people choose to finish the hot toddy off with decorations such as a lemon or add flavor with a cinnamon stick in the glass.  I have used this method before and it goes away quite well.

 Hydration

Hydration - Sore Throat Cures

Dehydration can be a cause of sore throats so staying hydrated is a great way to cure them.  Even when your sore throat is caused by another issue water can cure it.  When I was in high school I would sometimes wake up with sore throats and the first thing I would go for was water.  Almost everytime this would solve my sore throat.  Some people recommend drinking hot water in order to get the best results but under most conditions I don’t like drinking hot water.

Tea

Tea - Sore Throat Cures

Tea has been used to cure ailments around the world for years.  It isn’t a surprise then that it is considered among sore throat cures.  Tea soothes the throat and depending on what you mix into the tea it can help your sore throat in a variety of ways.  If you want to help the tea go down, add a dab of honey for smoothness.

The Salt Water Gargle

Gargling - Cures For Sore Throats

As I have said before, I love salt but I haven’t tried this one.  Gargling salt water is supposedly among the best sore throat cures.  The warm salt water is said to lessen the swelling in your throat and even ease the discomfort.  One must gargle at least once every hour and more frequently if you have a runny or stuffed nose as part of your sickness.

Marshmallows

Marshmallows - Cures For Sore Throats

This one may be one of the tastiest cures for sore throats for most people.  Marshmallows contain a sap that for years has been used to treat sore throats and other ailments.  The most common form that this sap is used in though is as a tea.  There is no scientific proof that marshmallows help with sore throats; however, there are plenty of people that feel that it does help.  Some other professionals also think that the gelatin in the marshmallows coats the throat causing your throat to feel relief.  This is one of the cures that I don’t think I will try.  I don’t like marshmallows, especially the regular sized or large ones.  The taste and texture have never done anything for me.

Avoid Smoking and Smoke

Avoid Smoking - Sore Throat Cures

Smoking in itself has been known to cause sore throats among many other medical issues.  Because of this it is imperative you stop smoking at least while you are trying to get over your sore throat.  If your sore throat returns when you start smoking again you know what is causing the issue.  Second-hand smoke is known to have its issues and among those is causing sore throats and causing them to last longer.  This also applies to the other tobacco products.

Sleep

Sleep - Cures For Sore Throats

One of the best sore throat cures and cures for other ailments is sleep.  Many times our body just needs to sleep more than we would normally want to allow it to.  I spent most of yesterday sleeping to help recover.  I woke up still feeling sick but a lot less so than I had been feeling the day before.  Sleep sometimes acts as a reset switch for the body.  It allows ailments to heal, energy levels to restore, and our brain to reinforce pathways.  This is also why it is so important to get enough sleep regularly.  It helps to keep us healthy and prevent colds in the first place.

When it comes down to sore throat cures there are a lot of them out there.  Some of them may work for you while others may work for your friends.  Finding the right cure might take a little bit of trial and error.  Luckily, all of the cures listed here are without medication so that you can try as many of them as you want.  Well, okay, one of them has alcohol in it but for most people that isn’t a deal breaker.

Based on how my sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and coughing has progressed I should be better before Monday and have a quality check-in post, hopefully with some good news.

Stretching At Your Desk – Finish It Friday

Normally Finish It Friday is all about exercising but today I wanted to take the focus and put it on stretching at your desk.  Stretching is just as important as exercising in today’s world of keyboards and desk sitting.  Actually, stretching is a form of exercise in itself, it is an exercise that is used to warm up a specific muscle or muscle group.

Why Is Stretching At Your Desk So Important?

When you slave away at a keyboard your fingers are hard at work and your wrists are being consistently bent.  This puts a lot of strain on the various parts of your hands. It can lead to a variety of different conditions such as tendentious.  To prevent injury to your body from working at your desk start integrating stretching into your day.

The number one rule when it comes to stretching at your desk is do it every hour at minimum.  Stretching, moving, and exercise sessions every hour should be between five and ten minutes for maximum effectiveness.

If you are typing for a long period of time it is also advisable that you take a small break every five to ten minutes.  This gives you time to look at what you are typing at the same time as giving your fingers a break.

Stretching At Your Desk

Basic Stretching

As mentioned above your fingers should take a break when you are doing large amounts of typing.  When you take a break roll your wrists around and open and close your fingers several times.   Place all your fingertips on the desk and push down on them, release and repeat.

Neck Stretching

It may not sound like it but your neck builds up a lot of stress when you sit at the desk.  You are looking at a monitor and holding your neck in the same position for a long period of time.

Start by pushing your ear to one shoulder and holding it there for five seconds.  You should feel the stretching.  After five seconds move the other ear to the other shoulder and repeat.  Once both sides are done repeat the same process for holding your head back and then pressing your chin to your head.

When you are done stretching your neck it should feel more free and relaxed.  If you desire you can always repeat the neck stretches multiple times.

Finger Stretching

Here is another finger stretching exercise for you.  Stand up at your desk and place your hands on the desk with your arms straight at your sides.  Do your best to point your fingers back at your body while keeping your palms on the desk.  Lower yourself towards the desk and you should start to feel the stretching.  As soon as you feel the stretch you hold the position for fifteen seconds.

You can repeat the stretch as many times as you want throughout the day.

Touching Your Toes

This one is very well-known but it is rarely done because a lot of people think of it as a kids exercise.  Start with your feet just under shoulder length apart, bend down at the waist and touch the floor.  Slowly walk your hands back so that they are touching your toes and hold the position for 15-30 seconds.

Office Chair Leg Raises

place both feet on the floor with you back straight against the backrest and arms on the armrest.  This is the standard sitting position.  While keeping one foot on the ground raise the other leg straight up as high as you can.  Hold the leg there for fifteen seconds or as long as you can hold your leg there.  Lower your leg to the ground.  Repeat the same process with the other leg.  This is a great way to stretch at your desk because you don’t need to get up to do but you are still working your legs!

Other Stretches

You can use any stretch that you have seen or used in the past in your office, just be aware that your co-workers may look at you strangely.  Don’t be discouraged though.  My co-workers understand why I stretch and get up and walk now that I have explained it to them.  So what are you waiting for?  Start stretching at your desk and live a healthier lifestyle.

Video

Here is a video of some office stretches that you can do.

Jumping Jacks – Finish It Friday

When most people think of jumping jacks they think back to their preschool PE class.  Kids do jumping jacks because they find them fun and its a great way for kids to burn off their energy and hyper activity.  Unlike push ups they are also easy for both males and females, strong armed and week armed people, and just about anyone to do equally.

What most people don’t think about when they are told to do jumping jacks is that they are a great workout tool.  In just 10 minutes of being performed jumping jacks will burn around 100 calories.  What they are also great for is getting your heart rate up and sweating.  Jumping jacks are a full body cardiovascular exercise.  That means they are able to give you a pretty complete workout.

Jumping jacks can be used in combination with other exercises but they can work by themselves.  They are a great option for when you have to stop at a crosswalk when out on a run or want to take a quick break from moving forward.  There are many different ways to divvy up the repetitions and you can also do them until you can’t perform any more jumping jacks.  Adapt them to fit your needs.

How To Perform Jumping Jacks

In case you need to brush up on how to perform jumping jacks lets go over this exercise.  Start with your feet together and your hands at your sides.  Jump up using your knees and spread your legs wide apart.  At the same time as you move your feet apart you lift your arms up until your hands are both above your head.  In a fluid motion return back to the starting position.  Just continue with that.

Here is a handy video on how to do a jumping jack.

Bridge Exercise – Finish It Friday

Also known as the hip raise, bridges, butt exercises, and other names the bridge exercise is a great option for a quick office workout.  The bridge exercise is one that a lot of people who have worked with a trainer or have performed yoga know about but not everyone does.  Bridges are a wonderful exercise because they allow you to work out multiple parts of the body at the same time.  Bridge exercises work out the following parts of your body:

  • Abs
  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings

You can do the bridge exercise pretty much anywhere that you can find enough room to lay down.  It is best to make sure it is relatively clean if you can bring a yoga mat with you to work to give you a clean surface.  Not all workspaces are clean after all.  Other than the optional yoga mat there is no required equipment for the bridge exercise.

How To Do The Bridge Exercise

To start the bridge exercise lay on your back with your feet flat against the deck (floor).  Your legs will be just shy of straight up from the floor.  Your arms will be at your sides with the palms down on the floor.

Lift your hips from the floor towards the ceiling while keeping your thighs parallel.  Ensure that you are lifting from your hips and not the arms.  Lifting from the arms will take away from the workout that you receive from the bridge exercise.

Hold your legs up for 5 breathes or 5 seconds then slowly lower them back down to the floor.  Lowering your body fast to the floor can hurt your muscles and you will also gain a better exercise by lowering slowly.  Make sure that you hold your body parallel as much as possible.  This may be difficult at first but it will get easier.

Perform as many repetitions as you desire.  Many people do the bridge exercise until they can no longer hold the form.

Here is a video for how to do the bridge exercise:

Angled Push-ups for Finish It Friday

Push-ups are a very common workout activity, they are simple and don’t require any special equipment to perform.  Additionally, they are used on many different physical fitness tests from the military to law enforcement to sporting teams.  When you are at the office though it is hard to do traditional push-ups, that is where angled push-ups come into play.  While they may not be as aggressive as a traditional push-up they still provide you with a workout and you can perform angled push-ups almost anywhere.

Angled push-ups can be done anywhere you have a surface to place your hands against.  Angled push-ups are performed in the exact same manner that a tradition push-up is performed.

There are two main concepts for how many push-ups you should do at a time.  The traditional method is to perform 20 repetitions of push-ups then hold in the lean and rest position (arms extended head at 90 degrees).

The other typical stance on how many push-ups you should do is to continue on until you burn out or cannot do anymore.  This method is becoming increasingly more frowned upon because it is can damage the body and muscles.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge yourself though.  Constantly push yourself to do more.

How To Perform Angled Push-Ups

Find a surface such as your desk and put yourself in the typical push-up position with the difference being that you are leaning against the desk.  The closer to a traditional push-up you get the more you work your muscles.  Your arms should be just over shoulder length apart and extended.

When you start your first push-up lower your arms to 90-degree angles.    Push yourself back up.  The slower that you lower and raise yourself, the better the workout.

You will want to make sure that at all times your back remains straight.  You will want to let your butt stick up in the air but you cannot let it.  Allowing your butt to rise into the air will significantly reduce the effectiveness of your workout.

Here is a video of how to perform a proper push-up.

Military Training – Sun Gods Exercise

“The next exercise will be the sun gods.”

“The sun gods first sergeant!”

When I was in the Civil Air Patrol as both a cadet and a senior member one of the most memorable physical training exercises were the sun gods.  Everyone would be in a PT formation and perform however many repetitions the exercise leader wanted to do.  Then afterwards we would have to hold our arms in position until everyone could keep them up for a sufficient amount of time.  If one persons arms went down the count would start all over again.  A most fun exercise.  Sun gods were originally a marine corps military training exercise.

The sun god exercises are meant to strengthen your shoulders, something needed during military training when you will need to carry large amounts of weight on your shoulders.  The sun gods exercise does not require any special equipment and only requires enough room for you to be able to stand up and put your arms all the way out, parallel to the deck (straight out).

If you want to make the exercise a bit harder you can hold weights in your hands while you perform it.  Most people don’t have weights in their office though.  If you find yourself without weights but still want to make the exercises more vigorous, do more repetitions.

A quick warning before you begin sun gods: they will make your arms tired if you do enough reps.

How To Perform Military Training Sun Gods

The military training exercise known as sun gods is very simple to perform.  You stand up straight with your legs shoulder width apart.  Raise your arms up parallel to the deck and out to your sides.  From there rotate your arms in small circles.  When we performed the exercise we would do three rotations per count.  Ten to twenty counts per position of the arms.  You can hold your arms in various positions to help add more of a workout.  After each position of the arms hold your arms in place for ten to twenty seconds then move them to the next position.

Here are the arm positions that you can do:

  • Arms straight out, parallel to the deck.  (Standard arm position)
  • Arms out in front of you parallel to the deck.
  • Arms out in front of you at a 45-degree angle.
  • Arms straight above your head.

Here is a video from Brandon Bullert demonstrating sun gods.

Tricep Dips / Tricep Desk Dips

This will be my first Finish it Friday post.  In these posts I will be giving you an exercise that you can do at your desk or on your lunch break.  These posts will come out every Friday at 10:00 AM.  The main point of these posts will be to give you something to help you finish your Friday strong.

Tricep dips are a very common exercise for many people but a fair amount of them never think of doing them at their desk.  They are quite simple to do at your desk and can also be done while on your lunch break anywhere you are.  Before attempting to do tricep dips make sure your desk is strong enough to support your weight.

How to perform Tricep Dips

Stand faced away from your desk and put both palms on the edge of the desk several inches away from your body.  Lower yourself away from the desk until your arms at a 90 degree angle.  Continue to dip yourself down for 10-20 times.  Take a thirty-second break and repeat.  For every dip your arms should go down to a 90 degree angle then go straight again.  The workout is for your triceps so make sure that the upper arm is doing all the work, not your legs.

Make sure that while you are dipping your shoulders are kept back and not hunched forward at all.  This will create bad posture and help promote it as you continue to workout.

Here is a video from Howcast on how to properly perform a tricep dip workout: