Working at a desk all day can be detrimental to your health. The long, sedentary hours spent staring at a computer screen not only lower your metabolism, but also lead to bad posture and muscle strain. However, it’s clear that computers aren’t going away anytime soon. If you don’t have the option to change to a more active job, then consider these work exercises you can do right at your desk or around your office.
Exercises at your desk
Take stretch breaks:
Give your muscles frequent breaks so you don’t spend all day hunched in your chair. Every hour, take a few minutes to roll you head, stretching your back and neck. Do shoulder shrugs for your upper back. Interlace your fingers and stretch your hands up to the ceiling, then put them behind your back and sit up tall. You can stretch your leg muscles by holding your leg out and making slow circles with your foot, or by placing one foot on the opposite knee and pressing down gently on the bent leg.
Workout during phone calls:
If you are often stuck on conference calls where you need to listen but no one can see you, consider using that time to strengthen your muscles. Do simple exercises like squats, lunges, calf raises, jumping jacks, wall sits, or push-ups (against the wall).
Get a standing desk:
If you’re looking to burn more calories and spend more of your day in motion, consider getting a standing desk. This is platform placed on a regular desk which brings your computer to standing height. Using a standing desk forces you to remain on your feet while checking emails and answering phone calls. This will help you develop stronger leg muscles while increasing your metabolism.
Try cycling at your desk:
If you want to take a desk workout to the next level, invest in a workplace cycling machine. You can either purchase a small peddling machine that can be used beneath a traditional desk, or switch to a recumbent bike with a built-in laptop desk. Either option will let you keep your legs in motion while you work, which increases blood circulation and can improve workplace efficiently. The continuous activity will also burn more calories throughout the day. There are several brands that are designed to be quiet enough that they can’t be heard during a phone call. (I typed most of this article while cycling on my FitDesk bike!)
Simple exercises during breaks
Stroll around the office:
Whenever you can, take opportunities to get up and walk around. Whether you are going to the supply closet, making photocopies, taking paperwork to a co-worker, or walking upstairs instead of making a phone call, all those extra steps add up and keep your metabolism going. Your co-workers may appreciate the extra face time and conversations too. If you work from home, take a few minutes each hour to walk around the house, start a load of laundry, make your bed, or water plants.
Go for a brisk walk:
During your lunch break, get your heart rate up with a brisk walk around your building or down the block. You don’t need to work up a heavy sweat, but you should walk fast enough that you are short of breath and would have difficulty carrying on a phone conversation. A 20-minute walk daily can improve your health. Use this time to listen to a favorite podcast or brainstorm a work project, so you return to your desk full of ideas.
Get extra steps
Park farther away:
While it might be convenient to grab that nearby parking space, you’ll do your health a favor if you park farther away. Try going to a higher level of the parking garage or parking at the empty end of the employee lot.
Take the stairs:
Burn some extra calories when you skip the elevator and hike up the stairs. Do this in the parking garage, the office building, and during your daily strolls when visiting departments or co-workers on other floors.
Don’t eat at your desk:
Your lunch break is the one time each day when you don’t have to be at your desk. Walk to and from the cafeteria, or save time by packing lunch at home. Then you can walk briskly to a local park, coffee shop, bookstore, or other enjoyable location to enjoy your meal. If you’re lucky, there may be a gym near your office where you can squeeze in a good workout and grab a protein shake during your lunch break.
Use a fitness app:
People have greater success with weight loss and overall fitness when they track their activity and calorie intake. You may think you are doing more daily activity than you are. There are a variety of products and apps that will help you track steps, exercise, calories burned, or give you reminders to get up and walk.
These are all easy ways to become more active, stronger, and healthier while working at a desk all day. When you make the intentional effort to get more active during the day, you will improve your metabolism, muscles strength, and overall health. Start today by planning small changes in your work schedule this week. Set reminders on your phone or create appointments on your calendar. Your health is just as important as your job, so make time for it!Read comments