I have a standard full-time office desk job, which means I spend most of my day just sitting at my desk and not moving around much. By the time I get home from work, I’m busy spending time with my kids that I don’t have the time to do any kind of exercise. Is there an exercise routine I can easily incorporate in between my daily activities?
It is good that you have embarked on the important first step towards good heart health, which is to recognise the need for it and be determined to do something about it.
Next, it is recommended to establish a plan to achieve good heart health, which involves four main points:
A good heart health plan should be practical and effective when integrated into an individual’s lifestyle. This is challenging for many young adults who lead hectic schedules juggling multiple commitments. A simple exercise routine which can be easily incorporated into daily activities is a five-minute stretching exercise, the most practical of which is the stretching of your neck, trunk or limbs. Stretching exercises improve joint flexibility and muscle elasticity, which eventually reduces the risk of injury when you progress to more vigorous exercises. Isometric exercises, such as planking, are a form of strength training involving the static contraction of an involved muscle without any visible movement in the angle of the involved joint.
Both stretching and isometric exercises promote good body posture,
which can reduce back pains you often get from long hours of work.
However, it is very important to get the methods of these physical activities correct for their full benefits and to reduce injury risk. It is best to see your sports physician or physical therapist for a more detailed instruction of such exercises.
This may not be known to many but simply standing upright is also beneficial to your heart. Whenever the opportunity arises, try to stand up in the office. If it is not possible to do so, try to adopt a good sitting posture at work. If there are no physical impediments from the above suggested physical activities, progress to walking. Start gradually and at the easiest exertion level before increasing the pace in intervals of two weeks and more. As you feel fitter through all the exercises above, you can then carve out time with your family for more physical activities like dedicated walks at the park or other recreational activities.
Question answered by:
Dr Leong Kui Toh Gerard
Senior Consultant Cardiologist and Physician
Thomson Cardiology Centre