If your job involves sitting at a desk for long periods of time it can be much harder to fit movement into your day. In an ideal world we’d all be popping out to a yoga class on our lunch break, or heading to the gym after work, but the reality is we’re working harder than ever and for longer hours than we used to. The big problem is all that sitting isn’t doing us any good. It’s giving us bad posture, putting stress on our joints, and our waistlines are expanding because of it too. But what can you do? I mean if you’ve got a desk-based job, then you’re kind of resigned to the fact that for most of the day you’re going to be sat at a desk. Well, the good news is you can get fit without leaving your desk.
If you’re someone who spends a significant part of their day sitting at a desk, then read on to discover 5 ways you can get fit without leaving your desk:
Desk Exercise Equipment
There are lots of different types of desk exercise equipment you can buy these days and most of it is very discreet, so you don’t need to worry about your boss thinking you’re slacking! You’re certainly not going to get out of breath using desk exercise equipment, but you will be moving, burning calories, and toning your muscles, which is way more than you’d be doing if you were just sat there tapping on a computer all day.
Most desk exercise equipment targets the lower half of the body and will fit snugly under your desk. Exercises such as cycling and walking can all be carried out from the comfort of your office chair, allowing you to quite literally get fit while you sit. Picture this, you’re sat there doing your work and at the same time upping your step count, now if that’s not multi-tasking I don’t know what is.
No matter what your job, whether you’re a data analyst, a telemarketer, a writer, a student, a help desk operator, a graphic designer, or indeed any other job that involves sitting at a desk, of which there are many, all of these can quite easily use desk exercise equipment without impacting your work. In fact, aside from all the physical benefits of exercising at your desk, you are also likely to be more productive, more creative, and less stressed, which in turn means you’ll be better at your job. So, perhaps rather than hiding that desk exercise equipment from your boss, you should be encouraging them to buy some for the whole team!
Anyone who works a desk job knows exactly how stiff and achy it can make you feel come the end of the day. You’ve basically been sat in the same position for 8 hours and boy does your body know it!
Incorporating office yoga into your working day will help stretch your muscles out, ease any stress that may have built up in your body, and will also relieve the tension that comes from keeping your body in the same position for a long time. Simple yoga stretch moves can be done from your desk, for example:
- Shoulder rolls
- Seated forward bend
- Neck rolls
- Open chest stretch
- Wrist and finger stretch
- Seated twist
- Cat/Cow stretch
All these moves can be done from your chair, so aim to fit a stretch in every time you take a break from your screen.
Our posture can really be affected when we spend lots of time sitting at a desk, especially if your workstation hasn’t been ergonomically assessed. If your screen isn’t at the right eye height, your keyboard isn’t at the right angle, and if your chair is uncomfortable and not set at the right height or angle for you, there can be consequences over time.
Core strength and good posture is essential for allowing us to continue to exercise as we age. And so, it’s probably the most important thing we need to consider when working at a desk for long periods of time. Yoga and Pilates can help build up your core strength which in turn helps to improve posture and strengthen muscles. So, having a go at some of those desk yoga moves we just spoke about will certainly help you. But what else can you do to help your posture when you’re sat at your desk?
Sitting on an exercise ball is a great way to hold your body in a good position, as the unstable surface of the ball forces you to hold your core steady so that you don’t fall off. That’s all well and good when you work from home, but bringing an exercise ball into the office might get a few funny looks. So, instead, let’s focus on how to sit on your chair correctly:
- Ensure your feet are flat on the floor.
- Keep your legs, knees and ankles uncrossed.
- Make sure you leave a small gap between your knees and the seat of the chair.
- Check that your knees are either at the same height or slightly lower than your hips.
- Keep your ankles in front of your knees.
- Relax your shoulders.
It’s not just our bodies that need a workout, our brains need one too. You could argue that your brain is already being worked out enough, what with you doing your job and everything. However, a good workout involves a cool down at the end to improve recovery rate and to help relax, and this is no different when it comes to a brain workout.
If you’re feeling frazzled at work, take some time out from what you’re doing and instead give yourself a short mental workout in the form of brain games. This could include things like doing a crossword, wordsearch, sudoku etc., or you could download a brain game app on your phone to help guide you through specific brain training tasks. But remember, that brain of yours also needs a rest, so factor in some mindful meditation practices during your lunch or coffee breaks to help you recharge enough to power on through the afternoon.
Use Your Desk
If you don’t have access to any desk exercise equipment don’t worry. It’s time to think outside the box and look around your workspace to see how you can make your surroundings work for you.
There are plenty of body weight exercises that can be done using your desk or chair. This is particularly useful if you’re just starting out on your exercise journey and feel like you’re a bit wobbly and so need that extra support. All of these exercises can be incorporated into your working day without leaving your desk area:
- Squats – Hold onto the edge of your desk, keep your back straight, feet a little wider than hip width apart, your hips placed over your knees, and your knees placed over our ankles. Start off with 10 and slowly build up to more as you become pro.
- Leg raises – Sitting upright in your desk chair, bend one leg and extend the other one out. Flex the foot of your extended leg and slowly raise the leg until it’s approximately one foot away from the floor. Slowly slower and repeat, remembering to swap legs halfway through.
- Plank – We’ve all done planks on the floor, but you might get in the way of your work colleagues if you do that! Instead, place your hands on the surface of your desk, keeping your feet on the floor and push your body away from the desk. Hold the position for as long as you can and then slowly release.
- Push Ups – Get into the same position as your desk plank, but this time push your body up and down so that your chin meets the surface of your desk.
Finding time to exercise when you work a busy desk job can be difficult. But hopefully after reading this you’ll see that it’s not impossible. Whether you choose to use desk exercise equipment, try out some brain games, or work on strengthening your posture there are plenty of ways you can get fit without leaving your desk.
Have You Got Some Ideas Of How To Stay Fit Without Leaving Your Desk?
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Becky Stafferton is a full-time content creator and web publisher. She continually strives to promote a realistic, sustainable, and positive image of how to lead a healthy life. When she’s not writing, or reading her teenage diary, she can be found swigging Prosecco from the bottle, running through muddy puddles, making lists of lists, having a good old moan, scoffing flapjacks, renovating her new house in the country, and squatting like her life depends on it.