Desk-ercise Your Way through the Day: 10 Ways to Get a Workout in at Work
On average, people spend 9.3 hours every day in the seated position. Whether in the car,
at a desk or on the couch watching television, most of us are sitting for longer periods of time
throughout the day than we spend sleeping.
In a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers report that people who spend more hours of the day sitting have up to a 66 percent higher risk of developing certain types of cancer than those who aren’t as
sedentary. While it can be difficult to find time throughout the school or work day to get up
and move around, there are a number of ways you can fit in exercise right at your desk (even if you have to sit).
So what are you waiting for? Start desk-ercising!
1. GLUTE SQUEEZE
The easiest desk exercise is the glute squeeze.
Simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10
seconds, release and repeat.
2. SEATED LEG RAISE
While seated, straighten one or both legs and
hold in place for 10 or more seconds. Then lower
the leg(s) back to the ground without letting
your feet touch the floor. Repeat, alternating
legs if raising them separately, for 15 reps.
Make it harder by looping a purse or briefcase
strap over your ankle for added weight.
To increase arm strength, place both hands on
your desk, walk your feet back to a 45-degree
angle and push off with as much force as
possible. An average of 10-12 reps every day
will make a difference in no time!
4. Book Press
Work your triceps and get your blood pumping
with book presses. Grab the heaviest book you
have, hold it behind your head and then extend
your arms up. Drop it back down by your neck
5. Shoulder Blade Squeezes
Poor posture can lead to a plethora of health
problems. Try this exercise to straighten your
back. Pretending to hold a pencil between your
shoulder blades, squeeze them together for 10
seconds, release, then repeat.
6. Chair Squats
Get your glutes summer-ready with chair
squats. Stand a few inches in front of your
chair and lower yourself down until your butt
hits the edge, then pop back up and repeat for
a total of 8-10 reps.
7. Standing Calf Raises
One of the most inconspicuous desk exercises
is the standing calf raise. At the printer, your
desk or even while standing in the lunch line,
start with both feet shoulder-width apart, press
up onto the balls of your feet, pause at the top
for 10 seconds and then lower back down. After
two or three sets of 12-15 reps, you should
feel the burn. For even more of a challenge, try
raising only one leg at a time.
Stretch your shoulder blade muscles by
holding both of your arms up and out, extended
away from your body to your left and right.
Make big circles on each side ensuring your
reach extends to the area above the head and
down to the knees.
9. Wall Sit
To work your core and leg muscles while reading
an article or meeting materials, try a wall
sit. Place your back against a blank wall space,
then squat down to a 90-degree angle and hold
for 30-60 seconds. Slide back up and repeat.
If you’re looking for something a little more
difficult, try crossing one leg over the other
while still at a 90-degree angle against the wall
and hold the position for 15 seconds.
10. Seated Bicycle Pedal
While sitting at the edge of your chair, hold
onto the armrests and bring each knee up to
your chest, like you’re riding a bicycle. Maintain
a smooth and consistent pace for as long as
possible. Work out your abdominals and give
yourself a midday wake-up call with this one.
By Grace Derocha
Grace Derocha is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified health coach for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. She loves helping others learn how to live a healthier and happier lifestyle
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