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Last Updated on January 22, 2021

5 Simple Stretches to Boost Your Energy at Your Office Desk

5 Simple Stretches to Boost Your Energy at Your Office Desk

Everyone knows that sitting for long periods of time is bad for your body and your mind. Getting the blood flowing helps you stay fresh with creativity, boosts energy, and helps your body work more efficiently. Many of us don’t have the opportunity to get up and move around as often as we should, but simple stretches added in during the day can help.

Studies have found that prolonged sitting can lead to increased risk in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, deep-vein thrombosis, and metabolic syndrome. Sitting is also known to increase pain by tightening the hip flexor and hamstring muscle, as well as stiffening the joints. This can cause problems with balance and gait in addition to the obvious discomfort.[1]

One study found that “greater total sedentary time” and “longer sedentary bout duration” were both associated with a higher risk of death. Basically, those who moved around less were more likely to die from any cause[2].

While many of us have busy schedules that limit the amount of time we can exercise each day, doing simple stretches throughout the day at your desk can be a great option to encourage movement, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Here are 5 simple stretches you can do while sitting to improve your mind and body.

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1. Seated Twist

12 Chair Yoga Poses for Stress and Posture - PureWow

    Sitting in your chair while keeping a long, tall spine, place your right hand on the outside of your left knee. Use that hand as leverage to twist to your left, and place your left hand as far to the right as possible to have something to hang onto while you twist. Now join it with your breath.

    Exhale as you move into your twist, and inhale as you ease off. Repeat on the other side. Repeat for each side 2-3 times.

    This simple stretch is great to offer a release for your back, neck, and shoulders. The twist will also help rinse out your internal organs, giving you a little boost of energy.

    2. Chest/Shoulder Opener

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    Blog: Simple Yoga Techniques to Increase Effectiveness at Work

      Sitting on the edge of your chair, clasp your hands behind your back, opening up your chest and shoulders. Inhale/exhale several times, noticing that when you inhale your stretch increases. Release and repeat 2-3 times.

      This stretch, while aimed at the chest muscles, can also alleviate some upper back pain, as we often feel pain in this area when our chest muscles are tight. This will also open up your lungs, allowing you to take some deep breaths, which can help reduce stress.

      3. Seated Pigeon

      Yoga In The Office: 6 Chair Poses To Improve Your Posture

        I call this one Seated Pigeon as it is a cousin to the yoga pose called Pigeon, which is performed lying on the floor. Clearly this isn’t an option at work. This Seated Pigeon version might not work if you are wearing a short skirt or dress unless you have an office to yourself!

        Sit on the edge of your chair and place your right ankle over your left knee. Be sure that your left foot is directly under your left knee and flat on the floor. Sit nice and tall, imagining a string is pulling the crown of your head up towards the ceiling.

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        This one is great for releasing your gluteus medius and minimus muscles, as well as your piriformis muscles. These are your hip abductors. These are usually what aches when you sit so much! Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds, and repeat on each side 2-3 times.

        This will offer a great release in the hips, as well as create stability in the knee joint. Both of these will help you avoid pain once you get up to leave work for the day.

        4. Hip Flexor Stretch

        Self-Care | Stretching exercises, Hip flexor stretch, Exercise

          Sitting truly shortens and tightens your little hip flexor. This sits at the front in the crease of your hip. It runs through your pelvis to your back, so when it is tight, it often presents with an achy back.

          To lengthen this muscle while at your desk, sit at the edge of your chair, but shift to face to your left. Take your right leg and extend it behind you with as straight a knee as you can. Sit tall, and lift your sternum while trying to tuck your tailbone under, as this will deepen the stretch.

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          Repeat on the other side. Repeat for both sides 2-3 times.

          5. Hamstring Stretch

          The Best Hamstring Stretches for Sore or Tight Hamstrings | Shape

            This is an easy one to do either just before you sit down or just after getting up. While standing, soften your right knee and extend your left leg in front of you with your heel on the floor. On your left leg, draw your toes upwards, keep your knee slightly bent so you don’t strain your ligaments behind your knee.

            You want to feel the stretch in the belly of the muscle (that is, your mid-thigh, at the back of your leg) rather than behind the knee. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and switch to the other side. Repeat each side 2-3 times.

            Stretching out your hamstring can help relieve knee and lower back pain. It can also help increase your balance and range of motion. If you like to spend your free time running or jogging, your hamstrings will be grateful you took a moment to stretch them out at work as these muscles are notorious for tightening up quickly.

            The Bottom Line

            It isn’t necessary to do all of the stretches all at once. Take a stretch break every 45 minutes or so and choose a couple of different stretches. Next time, choose a different set of simple stretches. Ultimately, your brain and body will thank you for it!

            More Stretches for Your Day

            Featured photo credit: Keren Levand via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Harvard Health Publishing: The dangers of sitting
            [2] Annals of Internal Medicine: Patterns of Sedentary Behavior and Mortality in U.S. Middle-Aged and Older Adults

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            Jennifer Wasylenko

            Exercise Physiologist, ACSM

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            Published on April 5, 2021

            9 Best Energy Supplements To Fight Fatigue And Tiredness

            9 Best Energy Supplements To Fight Fatigue And Tiredness

            When it comes to energy levels, the solution is relatively simple. Make sure you get ample sleep, exercise regularly, and have a well-balanced diet. But as much as those things are simple, performing them on a regular basis can be difficult.

            Worse, you could be doing these and still find energy levels draining quickly.

            Fortunately, there are several options out there to help you with pushing back fatigue and tiredness. Most of these solutions stem from supplements. These little pills pack all kinds of helpful nutrients to get you through the day. Below we’ve selected some of the best energy supplements available.

            Before getting to the list, here are some of the criteria that we used to determine what are the best options to offer you:

            • No fillers – One of the big issues with supplements is that they contain needless fillers in them that provide you with no benefit. We’ve checked many of these products to ensure they are from natural and pure sources and that these companies don’t put in fillers.
            • Improve mental functions – Fatigue isn’t just a physical thing, it’s mental too. The supplements we recommend help you in overcoming both sides of fatigue.
            • Metabolic benefits – These supplements are known to help burn energy stored in fat while preserving energy in your muscles.
            • Energized without the side effects – When people think of energy, they also keep in mind the downsides like crashing, jittering, irritability. These are known side effects for energy boosters, but they’re not part of these supplements.

            Now let’s dive into the 9 best energy supplements for fatigue.

            1. Fish Oil

            One of the best energy supplements on the market is fish oil. Fish oil supplements are able to provide a wide variety of benefits to individuals. It’s essentially the supplement to be using if you’re looking to improve brain or heart function or both.

            We recommend Infuel Fish Oil as they make a perfect blend of fish oil and Omega 3 healthy fats which directly support development of our brains, eyes, nervous system and maintaining a healthy heart. All of these feeds into our energy levels because these supplements provide us with essential fats that our body can use. Furthermore, stronger brain development is an invaluable tool to fighting off fatigue.

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            2. Ashwagandha

            Ashwagandha is one of the most important medicinal herbs in the Indian Ayurveda and it’s one of the world’s oldest medicinal systems. Over the years of its study, researchers have been able to uncover that Ashwagandha is able to increase our body’s resilience to both physical and mental stress.[1]

            Because stress is one of those aspects that drains our energy levels physically and mentally, it stands to reason that having supplements of this nature can provide us with more energy. Beyond that, there is also research that suggests we can alleviate fatigue associated to exercise with this too.

            NaturaLife Labs supplement of Ashwagandha comes to mind as a reliable source. It’s organic, vegan, and gluten free. Each capsule provides 2,100 mg with nothing but ashwagandha root powder and extract, making it highly potent compared to other brands.

            3. Rhodiola Rosea

            Another notable herb grounded into supplement form is rhodiola rosea. It grows in cold, mountainous regions and is used as a natural substance to enhance our coping abilities with stress.

            From that research, there have also been a small collection of studies that looked into the physical and mental fatigue aspect too. Out of the vast majority of those studies, there was evidence of rhodiola rosea enhancing both physical performance and easing mental fatigue.[2]

            Out of the various brands that provide this supplement, Bronson’s Rhodiola Rosea is a great fit. It’s gluten and soy-free and provides 1000 mg of 100% natural rhodiola rosea. These are also safe for vegans and vegetarians alike.

            4. CoQ10

            CoQ10 stands for coenzyme Q10 and is something that our body makes naturally. They are found in all of our cells though our heart, kidneys, and liver have the highest levels of this. What CoQ10 does though is produce energy for us and also protects themselves from oxidative damage.

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            So why bother with having specific supplements of these? Well as we get older, things start to decline and our cells may not be able to produce as much energy as before. If we want our body cells to stay in shape, providing these supplements can help.

            One of the best ones out there to look at is Nature Made’s CoQ10 vitamins. These supplements are gluten free and only contain soybean oil, gelatin, glycerin, water, and soy lecithin, making them ideal for most individuals. They also provide great benefits to those who take Statin as statin drugs are known for reducing CoQ10 levels. This replenishes them and doesn’t conflict with the use of those drugs either.

            5. Vitamin B12

            Vitamin B is a typically good vitamin to have. But if you’re looking for the best energy supplements in this category, B12 is the best. B12 is all about helping your body transform food into energy that you cells can then use.

            Beyond that, studies have found the vitamin helps with the body’s nerves and blood cells. It also prevents a type of anemia that can render you weak and tired.

            A lot of people are deficient in this area which is to be expected since not everyone is eating a lot of animal proteins like meat, fish and dairy products. It’s particularly bad amongst vegans and vegetarians.

            Fortunately, there is a good option for everyone to get their vitamin B12 they need — Naturelo’s Vegan B12 vitamin. Their protein is solely plant-based and provides a high among of B12 – 1000 mg per capsule. The main source of their B12 vitamin comes from Spirulina which is a rich, plant-based source of natural B vitamins, protein, and various minerals, giving you a clean supplement to boost your energy levels.

            6. Iron

            Our body also needs iron in order to function too. With a lack of iron we develop anemia which can then lead to sensations of weakness and fatigue. Iron is essential because it fights off that by providing red blood cells carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues.

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            Overall, iron is able to help you with fighting back fatigue because of this essential function. The only issue is that a lot of iron in food sources stem from meats and seafood.

            When looking for a pure and helpful supplement to look for, Naturelo Iron is the one. This particular supplement is appealing because it also provides you with vitamin C. Vitamin C is able to prevent iron deficiency so it pairs nicely with the iron supplement. Along with purse ingredients made from iron-rich whole foods and great absorption, you’re able to combat fatigue easier with these supplements.

            7. Melatonin

            Melatonin is a natural hormone that our brain produces that puts us to sleep. When we wake up, there are very low levels and it goes up over the day. But if you’re trying to stop feeling tired why would a supplement that produces this sleepy drug be helpful?

            Well, melatonin also serves as a way to fight off insomnia. Many people have sleeping issues because of high amounts of screen time (which disrupt the cycle of releasing melatonin). This insomnia leads to people feeling more exhausted physically and mentally.

            So by increasing your melatonin through a supplement, you’ll be able to get sleep when your body actually needs it. This process alone will be able to recharge you and energize you.

            And it’s not like you need a lot of melatonin in your body for it to work. Take Nature’s Bounty Melatonin. They provide 3mg of it per capsule and it’s more than enough for individuals to fall asleep to. Best of all, these supplements are suitable for vegetarians as well.

            8. Tyrosine

            Tyrosine is an amino acid that our body naturally produces as well. They are essentially the drugs behind making the chemicals that send messages from our body to the brain. Those chemicals are believed to decrease when we are in mentally or physically demanding activities. This leads to us being unable to concentrate and eventually feeling tired physically and/or mentally.

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            As such, being able to supplement our tyrosine levels will be able to help us fight off feeling tired and mentally exhausted. And one particular brand that can assure this is Swanson Tyrosine. Their Tyrosine supplement is Non-GMO and each capsule provides 500 mg, a healthy amount to keep you focused and mentally energized.

            9. L-Theanine

            The last on our list is L-Theanine. It’s an amino acid that is actually commonly found in tea and mushrooms. Considering the fact that tea – and coffee – are able to keep us energized, it makes sense that L-theanine provides similar perks.[3]

            What’s also nice about this particular supplement is that it also works well with coffee. Coffee has caffeine which naturally boosts our energy levels as well. The problem is coffee also provides side effects like nervousness, irritability, restlessness and a crash after a power boost. L-theanine with coffee though seems to prevent those side effects.

            One particular supplement of L-theanine we found beneficial was Nature’s Trove L-Theanine. They use natural ingredients and are made in the US, GMP NSF Certified and Kosher Certified. They’re also suitable for vegetarians as well.

            Final Thoughts

            Life does have a way of taking a toll on our bodies and there will be days where we are completely drained. There are several ways for you to combat this with working on a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting a proper amount of sleep.

            But for those looking to maintain higher energy, these supplements will provide a good opportunity for you to maintain higher energy levels and give you the natural boost that you need.

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            Featured photo credit: Aditya Saxena via unsplash.com

            Reference

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