There are lots of exercises out there, but have you heard of deskercises?
According to the American Heart Association, sitting is the new smoking. If you, like most office workers, are confined to your chair for 8-9 hours a day, the effects on your health can be astronomical. Excessive sitting puts strain on your back, and can increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 Diabetes, and certain types of cancer such as lung, uterine, and colon. Some researchers insist that even your daily workout isn’t enough to offset the damage you’re doing to your body.
The secret isn’t necessarily to exercise more, but sitting less. Getting up to move every thirty minutes is essential. There are plenty of ways to start moving: Take a bathroom break every hour. Go get a glass of water. Go for a quick walk outside in between calls. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Most people feel that when they’re in the middle of something, they can’t afford to take a break because it will reduce their productivity. What they don’t realize is that the increased blood flow to the brain helps sharpen awareness and boosts energy levels.
Here are some office exercises, or as we will call them, “deskercises,” to help keep you moving throughout the day. You can do them right at your desk or in your office, and they don’t require any equipment. Yes, your coworkers might stare. But some of them might be inspired to do the same!
1. Desk Planks
If you don’t have space behind your desk to do a full plank, use the seat of your chair. Line up your hands directly under your shoulders like you’re about to do a push-up. Hold this push-up/ plank position for 1-2 minutes. Try to do these at least twice a day.
2. Tricep Dips
Turn your back to your desk or your chair. Using either the edge of your desk or the seat of your chair, place your hands shoulder-width distance apart facing your back. Keeping your arms straight, walk your legs forward and bend your knees at a 90 degree angle. Bend your arms, and lower your body downward. Keep your elbows parallel to your body. Press back up and repeat for 2 sets of 10.
3. Wall Sits
Put your back against the wall and walk your feet out. Keeping your legs hip-width apart, bend your knees, getting as close to a 90 degree angle as possible. Hold the pose for a minute, edging up as needed. Deepen the pose for more resistance.
4. Straight Arm Hip Lifts
Put your arms at your side, pressing into the arms of your chair. Lift your body off the seat of your chair with your legs extended directly in front of you, keeping them parallel with the floor. Hold the pose for as long as you can.
5. Calf Raises
You can do a calf raise anywhere – waiting for your coffee, standing in an elevator, or behind your desk. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your heels until you’re on your tip toes, hold for a moment, and then lower. Complete 25 reps. Vary up the angle of your feet to work different parts of the muscle!
6. Seated Crunches
Move to the edge of your chair, placing your hands by your sides. Lean back, and extend your legs straight out above the floor. Bring your knees into your chest, keeping your spine straight and your core engaged. Complete 2 sets of 10.
7. Chair Squats
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your knees in line with your toes, sit back as if you’re going to sit in your chair. Keep your chest out and back slightly arched, lowering down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible. Keep your weight in your heels. Before sitting in your chair, bring yourself back to standing position. Start with three sets of 10.
Whether you decide to incorporate these exercises, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator, or take a few short walks throughout the day — just to get up and start moving! Every little bit counts.