Are you sitting down? Stop it. Stand up. Now keep reading. Several aspects of our modern lifestyle are slowly killing us and sitting is a big culprit. If you have a desk job, that doesn’t mean you are required to sit for 8 (or more) hours a day. There are exercises you can do before, after, and even during work to combat some of the negative effects of day after day sitting.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.2 million deaths can be attributed to lack of physical activity. Nearly everything we used to do in a day can now be done without lifting a finger (or your body). We can literally live our entire day in front of a screen without ever leaving the house, taking a walk, or getting any type of physical exercise.
On average, we spend about 9.5 hours a day sitting. Compare that to the 7.5 hours of sleep we are getting on average, we are doing a lot of nothing with our bodies. Working out at your desk is just one way you can get a little movement into your day,
With these simple exercises you can do at the office, we can actually reverse the inevitable weight gain, boost your calorie burning throughout the day, improve stiff necks and back pain, and even improve your mood at the same time. Let’s get started.
Stretches: Stay comfortable and loose with these yoga-like stretches from your desk.
Sit up tall and drop your right ear down towards your right shoulder, repeat for the left side. Then turn your head the left and try and look over your shoulder and hold for a few seconds, repeat on the right.
Reach for the Stars.
Interlace your fingers and reach up as high as you can keeping your palms facing up towards the ceiling. Bring your hands behind your back, press your palms together, sit up tall and hold for 5–10 seconds.
Seated Toy Soldier.
Sit up tall and extend your right arm all the way up towards the ceiling. Straighten your left leg out and raise it up as you bring your right arm down and try to touch your left foot. Do 8–10 on each side.
With a bent knee, lift your right leg up and grab it with your arms and pull it in as close to your chest as you can. Hold for 5–10 seconds and make sure and do it on the left side, too.
This one stretches out the glutes. With your right ankle on your left knee, gently press against the right knee a few times. Of course, after you’re done with the right side, be sure and give the left side some love, too.
Workout at your desk: These are great to do next time you’re stuck in a conference call or watching a webinar on your screen, mute the call and get your blood flowing.
Walk/Jog/Run in Place.
Anyone can run in place. Granted, this is easier and less embarrassing if you have a door on your office. Start with 30 seconds and repeat 3-5 times, then increase from there. 30–45 seconds. 3–5 times.
If the thought of putting your hands on the office floor gives you the heebie-jeebies, do your push-ups against the wall or on the edge of your desk/chair instead.
From your chair, stand up, sit back down and repeat 10 more times. Simple!
Tricep dips can be done pretty much anywhere. Use your desk or your chair as long as it doesn’t have wheels on it. Stand with your back against the chair, put your hands shoulder-width apart with your feet lengthened in front of you. Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints. Repeat 10 more times.
Stand up behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor. You can easily do this one while you’re standing around the break room or talking to your boss and no one will even notice. Do 3 sets of 10.
Getting Out: Make little changes throughout your day to get in more exercise without even trying.
Park farther away.
Start by parking a few rows back, move back one row every day until that last stall in the lot is yours.
Take the stairs.
This has double benefits as you don’t have to make elevator small talk. That’s a win win! Try taking them two at a time, twice!
Do it yourself.
Take the opportunity to go get your own coffee, walk to the copier, etc. Even if you have an assistant, take advantage of these little chances to walk away for a couple of minutes.
Schedule a walk.
Create an appointment just as you would a business meeting and don’t miss it. Just a 10-15 minute walk outside to get fresh air, fresh perspective, and a few more steps in your day. If you must, make it a walk and talk meeting.
If you use public transportation, get off the train a stop or two away and walk to work. If you live close enough, consider biking or walking to work instead.
Ideally you should get up from your desk at least once an hour. Even a quick 2-5 minute walk every hour can make a big difference over time. So, let’s get up and get moving!