6 Fun Yoga Exercises to Improve Circulation from Your Desk
Have you ever experienced numb, tingly, or cold hands and feet?
As a desk job worker, you’re probably familiar with the signs and symptoms of poor circulation. If left untreated, long-term reduced blood flow from a sedentary lifestyle can lead to nerve or tissue damage, a stroke, or even a heart attack. Thus, staying active is imperative when you have to work long hours at a time.
In today’s article, EFFYDESK has partnered up with Registered Yoga Instructor Nicole Chen (@nicolechenyoga), and certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Registered Yoga Instructor (RYT-200) and Personal Trainer (ACSM), Jean Hu (@thephysiquephysio), to bring you 6 fun yoga exercises you can do right from your office desk!
How to Improve Blood Circulation Naturally
Healthline Media shares that sitting for long periods of time can slow down blood flow and the circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. While poor blood circulation is not a condition in itself; it is a symptom of underlying health conditions waiting to be rectified.
Luckily, there are many ways to improve healthy blood flow and circulation. The following yoga exercises will improve circulation, prevent varicose veins, reduce back pain, and help you “undo” the negative effects of desk job damage.
There are many benefits to good blood circulation, including muscle strength and energy, which are both essential to creating a healthy, ergonomic work setting. Not only does yoga help to relieve stress; it will also get your blood pumping during your long hours of work.
So, how does one obtain “good” blood flow naturally to benefit your circulatory system? Keep on reading to find out!
6 Fun Yoga Poses to Help You Undo Desk Job Damage
Disclaimer: This article includes images and yoga exercise information from two professional, local Vancouver registered yoga instructors, Jean Hu and Nicole Chen. The contents of this article is meant to be used for general informational purposes only. For medical advice/diagnosis or treatment, please consult with your local healthcare professional.
Our signature dual-motor Business Frame EFFYDESK (pictured) with reinforced desk legs can be used to stabilize your posture as you practice the following yoga poses. Don't forget, our standing desk's smart memory keypad allows up to 4 preset height settings, which means you can save your desired desk height settings with the simple click of a button.
*PRO TIP: Check out our article on the benefits of using a standing desk properly.
1. Eagle Arms
The Eagle Arms yoga pose helps relieve shoulder pain by reducing the pressure accumulated by sitting at your desk for long hours.
HOW TO DO IT
- Place both arms in front of you and bend your elbows at 90 degrees.
- Place your left arm above your right, interlock arms, and touch palms together.
- Slowly create space by pushing your arms away from your face and chest, stretching your shoulders.
- Hold this for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
You can do this simple Seated Spinal Twist on the floor with crossed legs, or one knee straightened with the other knee bent.
(*PRO TIP: You can also do this at a chair.)
HOW TO DO IT
- Bring the soles of your right foot to the outside of your left leg, bend your right knee.
- Lengthen your spine.
- Slowly twist to your left while holding your left knee or hip with your right arm.
- Place your left hand behind your back.
- Inhale as you lengthen, exhale, and twist to your left.
This exercise stretches the shoulders, hips, neck, and back.
It can help to strengthen your back muscles while relieving lower back tension.
A strong and flexible spine means better posture for work and improved blood flow to your whole body.
3. One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog
Downward-Facing Dog is a rewarding exercise that will increase blood flow to your entire body and bring both energy and calmness to your mind.
HOW TO DO IT
- Begin on all fours (knees and arms) on the ground.
- Align your hands and wrist to the width of your shoulders and align your feet with the width of your hip, similar as to what you would do for a plank.
- Spread your fingers wide and press firmly to distribute your weight across your palms evenly.
- Exhale as you tuck your toes in and raise your knees off the floor
- Next, gently straighten your legs, but don’t lock them! Your heels should be raised off the floor.
- Bend your knees and lengthen your spine.
- Relax your shoulders back and raise your sitting bones to the sky.
For a One-Legged Downward-Facing Dog, lift one leg up at a time to feel the stretch in your hip flexors.
4. Standing Back Bend or Camel Pose
Camel pose (“Ustrasana”) is an excellent chest opener and backstretch but for many of us, we can start with a simple, foundational Standing Back Bend that allows us to strengthen our back, heart, and respiratory system.
HOW TO DO IT
- Begin by standing upright, and place both palms on your low back or sacrum with your fingers pointing down.
- Root your feet and legs firmly to support as you slowly press your hips forward and arch backward.
- Roll your inner thighs in and back, lengthen your tailbone down. Feel your core engage.
- Keep your backside nice and strong as you breathe and hold this pose for a few breaths.
- Slowly inhale and let your back come back with your neck and head coming up last.
5. Standing Side Body Stretch
An arm-over-the-head side stretch like this one can help detoxify the body and increase blood flow.
We are often working in positions throughout the day that push our bodies forward from a neutral position rather than sideways.
*PRO TIP: It may help to begin this stretch by finding a height-adjustable desk for support.
Try restoring balance by paying attention to our side bodies.
HOW TO DO IT
- Begin by standing hip-distance apart with one foot pointing forward, and the other pointing sideways
- Reach up and stretch your arm over your head towards the foot facing sideways.
- Place the opposite hand on your hip, or table for support to allow for a deeper stretch.
6. Side Bend (Sitting/Standing)
Looking for something even easier than a Standing Side Body Stretch?
PRO TIP: You can stay seated on your ergonomic office chair for this side bend.
HOW TO DO IT
- Simply reach your arm overhead, and lean to the other side.
This stretch helps to lengthen your abdominal muscles, improve flexibility in the back, and helps to bring balance to your whole body by stabilizing your thigh muscles.
Your Best Posture is Your Next Posture
Posture is meant to be dynamic. The body loves to be mobile and is not built to stay stationary for prolonged periods of time. If you work in an office or at a desk, you will likely experience some aches and pains with prolonged sitting.
Prolonged sitting often leads to tightness in pectoral muscles, lower back, hip flexors, and hamstrings. Over time, these prolonged postures can lead to progressive strains in muscle tendons and ligaments.
Therefore, adopting a lifestyle that prioritizes dynamic posture will balance the stresses that we put on our bodies.
To effectively interact with our environment, we need to move:
- Changing the position that you work in between sitting and standing will help prevent musculoskeletal aches and pain.
- Taking frequent breaks to take short, 30-second to 1-minute walks will prevent stiffness in muscles and joints.
- Adding in stretches to your daily routine, particularly the chest and hip-openers, will improve circulation throughout the body to allow your tissues to get the nutrients it needs.
- Additionally, when you feel better, you are more alert leading to increased energy and productivity!
The truth is, there is no “best sitting posture”. There is no “best standing posture”.
The only best posture is your next posture, so get up and move!
- Jean Hu, Registered Yoga Instructor & Physical Therapist
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