Do you remember when the term “work” used to mean manual labour with a side of blood, sweat and tears? Now-a-day it means hour after hour with your bum glued to your seat. And while you might be a Social Media Wiz by day and a Crossfit Champion by night, recent research suggests your 30-60 minutes of exercise per night may not undo the health risks of sitting for 8+ hours a day, every day.
So you ask yourself, what can I do when I am required to sit by my desk all day at work? Luckily, short bursts of strength exercises and stretching in between conference calls and excel spreadsheets can help improve fitness levels and maintain a healthy heart too. While these desk exercises (also known as deskercise) won’t promise a six pack of abs, it will improve your strength and burn a few extra calories as well. So whether it is social media, excel spreadsheets, or customer calling, we have got 10 deskercises for a happier and healthier workday.
1. The Stair Master. Want to avoid elevator small talk in favour of elevating the heart rate? Take the stairs! Take two steps at a time for a real leg burn.
2. The Slog, Then Jog. Instead of slogging away for hours nonstop, take a mini-break for a stationary jog. Pop up from your chair and jog in place. Want to raise that heart rate a little more? Pick up those knees and continue for one minute. Return to spreadsheets and repeat every half-hour.
3. The Cubicle Wanderer. Walking during work is totally underrated. Instead of sending a lazy email or dialing extensions, walk over to your colleagues desk and deliver the message yourself.
4. The Wall Sit. Wall sits are great for building strength and endurance. Stand with your back against the wall, feet shoulder width apart and thighs parallel to the floor. Sit and hold for 1-2 minutes (or 12 hours, the world record!) while reading the morning paper or your emails.
5. The Patient Printer. Are you waiting for 200 pages to be printed perfectly? Don’t unwillingly stand by the printer when you could be doing calf raises. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, press up onto your tiptoes, pause up the top, then lower back down. Repeat for 12-15 reps, or until the printing, scanning or faxing is done.
6. The Last Man Standing. Standing isn’t traditionally known as an exercise, but it beats sitting down. After all, long periods of sitting are linked to increased risk for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease, whereas standing increases your daily caloric expenditure. Stand wherever you can, and encourage your colleagues to participate in standing meetings too!
7. The Knuckle Sandwich. So the boss said NO to the promotion and returned your paper covered in red ink. Let off some steam by throwing out a few jabs, hooks and uppercuts in rapid succession. Stand if you can and continue for a minute or longer to blow off steam and tone the arms, chest and core.
8. The Causal Lean. Waiting in the hall for a meeting? Perfect time to nonchalantly work out the upper arms! Causally lean against the nearest wall, supporting your body with the forearm only. Now perform a push up, leaning into the wall until your upper arm almost touches the wall, and push back up. Repeat 15 times or until the meeting commences.
9. The Shoulder Shrug. Simply raise both shoulders up toward the ears, hold for 5 seconds and release. Repeat for 15 reps. Feeling unstoppable? Try advance shoulder shrugs while standing and hold a paper ream in each hand.
10. The Silent Seat Squeeze. Not all exercises have to attention-seeking. To start toning, simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat until the agenda wraps up or the glutes get tired. The results will be uplifting in more ways than one.
Keep forgetting to do your exercises every hour? Set a calendar reminder or put post-it notes around the office. Embarrassed? Do 20 minutes on your lunch break. ENJOY!