11 Easy (and Subtle) Deskercises
A good exercise goal is 30 minutes of a moderate-intensity workout five days per week. However (and unfortunately), if you sit around all day, that’s likely not enough.
That’s where deskercise comes into play.
Exercises you can do at your desk aren’t just about burning more calories or getting extra muscle tone. Instead, they can be a fantastic way to nullify some of the bad health effects of sitting at a desk day in and day out.
Isn’t a Normal Workout Good Enough?
It’s difficult to counteract the health complications of a sedentary work-life. Sure, you’re reading Z.E.N. Foods, so you likely go above and beyond with your exercise. But even still, it’s simply unhealthy to sit for hours on end, and many people don’t realize their workouts might not be enough to compensate.
Hey, no one said life was fair!
In fact, one study claims that a lack of exercise may be worse for your long-term mortality than smoking cigarettes. While that does sound highly questionable, it nevertheless highlights the dangers associated with 40+ hours of office work.
Here are some top strategies to lessen the burden of regular desk work:
Stretch to Reduce Aches and Pains
1. Can you hold a pencil between your shoulder blades? Only one way to find out! But really, arch your back like you’re trying to do exactly that for a great back stretch/muscle workout. Hold for ten seconds, take a break, then repeat about a dozen times.
2. To keep your neck loose, touch your ear to your shoulder. Hold it for ten seconds. Do the same with the other ear and shoulder. Repeat a handful of times. Not only is this an effective stretch, it’s also an excellent way to stay relaxed and focused at the same time.
3. Stand up and place your hands on your desk – but with the tips of your fingers facing toward you. Then use your body weight to stretch your tendons. The result is a potentially significant reduction in your risk of carpal tunnel.
Tone the Muscles
4. Let’s start with the obvious: triceps dips. You can use the edge of your desk to/ chair get a great arm and shoulder workout.
5. You can often find stuff around the office you can use for bicep curls. Whether a heavy-duty stapler or a purse — That just happens to contain a bag of rocks? Just an idea. — you can get some serious reps in without hitting the weight room.
6. Sit cross-legged in your desk chair. Grab the arm rests with both hands. Raise your body off the seat, using your weight as resistance. This is a highly effective workout that we’d even recommend for home. Then again, you might have enough room to just bring dumbbells into the office with you.
Get Your Cardio
7. Jog in place. Do jumping jacks. Perform step exercises. Dance in your chair. Depending on how much space you have, you can get away with a lot of these without drawing (too much) attention. On the other hand, you can also just bite the bullet and be the office fitness nut. The alternative of sitting around all day is what would be really nuts! Why are we hiding our commitments? Inspire your coworkers!
8. You can find tons of options for compact workout equipment online. You can get stationary bike pedals you can use while you’re sitting. They also have cubicle/desk treadmills that allow you to walk in place without wandering or taking up too much space.
9. Take a break and go on a walk. Work for two hours, then stand up and move around for 10-15 minutes. You know how smokers take breaks every couple of hours? Hey, it’s absolutely terrible for them, but at least they’re not sedentary. But a nonsmoker who takes a short jaunt a few times a day? Now that’s the best of both worlds.
10. Consider how long you’re sitting. With a standing desk, you can switch things up to lessen the impact of sitting all day. It’s often a tax write-off, and you may be able to inspire an office-wide switch. Given the potential productivity increase, there’s a good chance it’s a hard sell. Either way, it’s a worthwhile investment for you.
Bonus: Switching from standing to sitting and back often makes the day go by faster too.
11. Take the stairs. Park further away from the front door. Bike to work. Walk or jog to work. These things don’t have to be every day necessarily. But as mentioned above, even if you’re good about your workout routine, sitting all day means you should compensate at some level.