Josée Lavigueur's Space
Discover her advice all summer long

Have you heard of Deskercise?

I’m talking to you today about a concept you can apply to restore balance to your telework days: the deskercise. A text by an expert in Toronto, Dr. Perlus, drew my attention to the subject. An employee who performs sedentary work should take a break to stretch every hour! These more frequent and shorter breaks are more efficient than the longer midday break we’ve been used to. Here are a few simple suggestions that are sure to do you some good!

Forearms and hands

Daily use of the keyboard can cause several problems, including carpal tunnel syndrome and various forms of tendinitis.

Step away from your workstation and extend one of your forearms and bend your hand downward. With your free hand, exert light pressure on the back of the hand and hold for a few seconds. Then do the opposite by bending the hand upward. With your free hand, gently pull your fingers back. Repeat on the other side.

Shoulders and neck

Let your head drop to the right, raise you left shoulder, then extend your left arm while drawing your shoulder down as far as possible. Point your palm forward. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Return to your original position. Repeat, in the other direction. This is one of my favourite exercises.

To breathe better and relax your neck and shoulders, lift your shoulders very high, then, exhaling deeply, lower them. Repeat several times!

Legs

Sitting is hard on the body, especially because it reduces blood flow to the lower limbs. It’s important to move as often as you can: get up, walk, dance or do whatever’s possible in your work space!

Traditional stretches for the calves, quadriceps and hamstrings can be done easily from your workstation and can make a huge difference!

Back

Sitting is not natural. Long sedentary periods lead, among other things, to pressure on the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back. Once again, simply getting up, walking and moving for a few minutes is hugely beneficial. But remember: you need to do this every hour!

To relax your back, try the back’s six directions. I learned this from a colleague, Maryse Lehoux, expert and founder of the Diva Yoga platform.

Sitting or, preferably, standing:

Directions 1 and 2: Inhale, stretch your arms upwards and then, exhaling, gently tilt your trunk to one side (try to lengthen it, not bend it). While inhaling, return to your starting position. Repeat, tilting your trunk to the other side.

Directions 3 and 4: Inhale and open your arms while arching your back and then, exhaling, bring your arms forward at chest level.

Directions 5 and 6: Inhale and stretch your arms upwards then, exhaling, lower your arms as you rotate your trunk to the right (as if you’re looking behind you). Inhaling, return to your starting position. Repeat, rotating your trunk to the left.

Goodbye stress!

Find simple solutions to reduce your stress and the build-up of nasty cortisol.

  1. Simply stop and take a moment to breathe and visualize something positive. Take your mind off work for a moment!
  2. Music works wonders! Listening to your favourite music during your break will give you a precious moment of relaxation.
  3. Watch, listen to or read something that will make you laugh or smile! A proven way to relax!

Losing focus?

If you feel like your attention and concentration are flagging, try this simple trick: draw one of your knees upward and hold the position for 15 seconds. Repeat 5 times with the same knee then start over with the other knee. The greater oxygen supply and increased blood flow will help perk you up!