We all know the importance of exercising and staying fit, but for the exception of personal trainers and professional athletes, going to the gym doesn’t pay the bills.
As the saying goes, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do and, unfortunately for many of us, that means sitting at a desk for 7 and a half hours a day. As you may have read, this isn’t great for our health.
However, this doesn’t mean that all hope of a staying fit is lost. There are actually numerous ways you can get the blood pumping while you work at your desk, helping to reduce the health risks that come with doing a sedentary job.
Here are some simple ways that you can work out while you work:
The standing desk is becoming increasingly popular amongst office workers because, as you can probably guess, it is much healthier for us to spend the whole day on our feet rather than sitting down.
Standing desks can reduce the risk of obesity, cancer and eye strain. Although the thought of standing while you work may sound weird to you, many people who have made the switch have said that they quickly got used to it. The other health benefits of working at a standing desk include having a better posture and a longer lifespan.
If your boss doesn’t approve of the idea of standing desks, try doing some of these small desk exercises, or “deskercises”, during the day to keep yourself mobile. Although many of the exercises recommended online lack a great deal of subtlety, there are plenty that you can do while maintaining your dignity:
- Try raising your shoulders towards your ears and holding them there for a few seconds, then repeating this process for 10-15 times.
- Join your hands together (with one thumb facing up and one facing down) then pull as if trying to pull them apart. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then repeat.
- Put both your hands behind your head and then push, as if trying to push your head forward, resisting this force with your neck to keep your head up, to exercise your neck.
There are many exercises similar to these that you can do throughout your working day. Try googling desk exercises and see if there are any you could do without making a scene.
Even some simple stretches can help prevent the health effects of sitting for long periods, which is why many airliners recommend you to get out of your seat to do some stretches during your flight. Stretches can really help you to loosen up and generally make you feel better during the day, too. So, every now and again, stretch your arms towards the ceiling, give your legs a stretch under your desk and turn your head to look over your shoulder to stretch your neck.
You don’t always have to exercise at your desk just to keep your fitness in check, even small actions can help. Whenever you get a spare hand, grip onto a stress ball to help tone and strengthen your hands and arms, ensuring they remain strong and flexible. This will also help to prevent wrist and hand problems from developing in those who type a lot, making it an ideal way to work your muscles while sitting at your desk.
Walk and talk
If you spend a lot of your day making or receiving phone calls, the next time the phone rings, jump to your feet and stay there. Unless it is essential that you are sat in front of your computer while on the phone, try walking around the room while you are on the phone. This breaks up the long periods of the day you spend sitting down, and helps to reduce the health effects of working a sedentary job as a result.
Perhaps the simplest way to help you stay fit throughout the day is one you might have been doing without even realising. Multiple studies have shown that consistent toe tapping or fidgeting throughout the day can help you burn an extra 300 calories a day; so, flick on the radio to get your toes tapping and keep moving during the day. Spending your day fidgeting won’t be enough to help you lose weight, so don’t expect to see a fidget spinner station pop up at your gym anytime soon. Nonetheless, even this slight, continuous movement helps to minimise the effects of sitting stationary for 8 hours a day.
This should not be construed as advice and is for guidance only.