When you're stuck at your desk for the entire work day, it's easy to feel sleepy enough that if someone handed you a pillow, you'd nap for the rest of the day. Doing so wouldn't exactly help your career prospects, and loading up on coffee and spending the day watching online videos isn't ideal, either. Instead, snap out of your sleepy funk with a handful of exercises to make you feel alert.
Discreet Seated Exercises
Some offices aren't conducive to you standing up and loudly performing a set of calisthenics next to your desk. Stick to discreet exercises you can perform while seated. These exercises can be fidgety in nature -- try tapping your toes or lightly stomping your feet, swinging your legs from side to side and even frequently changing position in your chair. If you're able to do so without disturbing your colleagues, drum your fingers on the desk or gently turn your head from one side to the other.
Stretching provides you with a series of benefits, including sending oxygen-rich blood throughout your body to give you an awake feeling. A series of basic stretches can quickly alleviate your fatigue and sharpen your mind for the rest of the day. To stretch your neck, bend an ear toward your shoulder and hold the pose before switching sides. To stretch your chest, push your shoulders back and visualize trying to pinch your shoulder blades together. A basic thigh stretch involves grabbing your ankle and pulling it toward your backside, and then switching legs. Hold stretches for 30 seconds before gently releasing them.
You probably don't want to exercise enough to break a sweat, but a few vigorous-intensity exercises can quickly wake you up -- just be sure your cubicle mates are OK with your sudden burst of energy. Stand beside your desk and march on the spot while pumping your arms above your head, or perform a quick set of jumping jacks. Kicking your knees up toward your waist as you lift your arms skyward or even performing a couple squats and lunges can also wake you up.
If you're self-conscious about exercising at work but want to combat your sleepy feeling, make a few changes to the way you spend your day rather than overtly exercising. Instead of taking the elevator down to the cafeteria for a snack, use the stairs to wake up your legs. If you frequently make phone calls or send emails to colleagues throughout the office, walk over to their office to speak in person. Pace around your office while on an incoming phone call and take a walking lap around the floor once an hour.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.