Working from home has its perks, but freedom can quickly lead to lethargy and even chronic fatigue. Irregular work hours, juggling work and family life, and poor sleep hygiene are often the main culprits.
To boost your energy levels when working from home stretches that encourage blood circulation can be very effective. The great thing about stretches is that they’re super easy to perform and master, and don’t require a lot of space either.
In this post, I’ll show you 6 effective stretches to turn to when you need a quick energy boost.
6 Stretches to Boost your Energy Working from Home
1. Standing Quad Stretch
The standing quad stretch is a fast way to relieve muscle tension in the quads while bringing much circulation to that area at the same time.
Sitting still for long periods of time can cause tension in the quadriceps, a major muscle in your legs. The tension here can lead to back problems (the sciatic nerve runs from the back and through your legs) and postural issues.
To perform a standing quad stretch:
- Stand with your feet flat on the ground.
- Hold on to your desk or chair for balance and kick your left leg up behind you.
- Ensure you keep your right leg as straight as possible.
- With your left hand, grab your left foot and pull towards you. You should be able to feel a good stretch in your quads (front of your legs).
- Alternate the legs and repeat the move.
2. Upwards Stretch
The upwards stretch is one of my favorite “wake up” stretches. With this stretch, you signal to your body that you’re ready to start working. It’s great at relieving tension throughout your back, legs as well as your arms.
To perform the upwards stretch:
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Place your arms as high as possible above your head.
- Shift your weight on to the tips of your toes and try to reach up as far as you can with your arms.
- Keep your legs, arms, and back straight throughout the stretch.
- Hold the stretch as long as possible, and remember to take long, deep breaths.
3. 60 Second In Place Jogging
You don’t need to be outside to benefit from jogging! Jogging in place is an excellent way to rev up circulation to your entire body fast.
To jog in place:
- Stand relaxed
- Start slow, start jogging in place
- Keep going for around 60 – 120 seconds.
Do this exercise every two or three hours of sitting in one place.
4. Shoulder Rolls
Shoulder rolls are great for relieving tension in the shoulder joint and re-energizing these areas.
To perform shoulder rolls:
- Stand relaxed with your arms beside your hips.
- Keeping your arms down, rotate your shoulders forwards in a circular motion a few times
- Then reverse the direction, by rolling your shoulders backward.
- Do 7-10 rotations per set.
5. Side Stretch
As we sit, the oblique muscles (core muscles on the side) work hard to keep our spine nimble and back supported. As such, this is an area that often feels sore after a while. A side stretch is excellent for breathing new life into the obliques and preventing you from wanting to lay down.
To do a side stretch:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and feet flat on the ground.
- Extend both arms over your head towards the ceiling. Interface the fingers in both hands.
- Bend your body to the right from the waist, keeping your torso and head in alignment.
- Bend as far as you can, and return to the original position.
- Repeat on the other side and about 4-5 times on each side.
6. Squat Jumps
When it comes to getting the best bang for the buck, few exercises can beat the squat. This is a dynamic compound exercise that works many muscles at once. It works your core, hips, and leg muscles.
A variation of the squat I love is the squat jump. It combines a conventional squat with a vertical jump to really get your heart rate up, and fast. The result? Instant energy.
To do a squat jump:
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart
- Slowly lower your body into a squat
- Keep your feet flat on the ground and the knees aligned behind the toes.
- Jump up from the squat position and reach up as far as you can
- Get back down to a squat position and repeat the jump
- Do about 10-15 squat jumps per set.
Other WFH Productivity Tips
Stretches are a great way to quickly recharge your energy and productivity. They improve circulation by sending much-needed oxygen to stagnant areas of your body. And since you’re working at home, there’s no fretting that you might look silly doing them.
Here are some other essential tips for boosting your productivity while working at home:
- Maintain a normal and predictable sleep schedule, as tempting as it is to spend an extra hour awake working (or God forbid playing video games).
- Set up a morning routine that signals to your body you’re ready to start work. This could be slipping into work clothes, a quick walk around the block, or having a healthy breakfast.
- Designate a dedicated workspace with a proper ergonomic chair and desk for work. The couch does not count.
Who is the author?
George Chiang is a certified ergonomist and senior editor at ErgonomicTrends.com. You can find him hitting the gym or the yoga studio when he’s not working hard at a café or coworking space.