Office jobs require people to spend far too much time sitting each day. In fact, the World Health Organization has estimated that about 3.2 million deaths each year can be attributed to a lack of physical activity. While people spend an average of 9.5 hours a day sitting and another 7.5 hours sleeping, there needs to be more time for standing and other physical activities added to the mix.
While you may hit up the gym before or after work, research has shown that these workouts do little to help reduce the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Instead, you need to get up and move more often throughout the day.
One great way to get exercise without committing your lunch break to the gym is to do exercises at your desk. At least every hour or so, you should get up and move.
Plunkett Fitness has a few tips for getting a little more active while at the office with stretches, exercises, and basic lifestyle habits.
For a couple of quick desk stretches, Plunkett Fitness recommends doing each of the following twice a day while at your desk. These stretches can prevent any aching or tightness you would normally feel from sitting at a desk all day.
- Shoulder Shrugs: Bad posture often leads to pain in the neck and shoulder area. Combat the fatigue by doing some simple shoulder shrugs at your desk without having to get up or stop what you are doing. Just raise both shoulders up toward your ears and hold them there for a few seconds and release. Repeat this stretch a few times to ease shoulder tension.
- Neck Rolls: Stretch out your sore neck with neck rolls. Neck rolls are just as easy as shoulder shrugs. All you need to do is drop your chin to your chest and gently roll your head from one shoulder to the other.
- Knee Hugs: Switch things up a bit and focus on your legs with knee hugs. While sitting, bend your right knee and place your foot on the edge of your chair. Grab your knee with arms and bring it in as close to your chest as you can and hold that position for 10 seconds. Repeat on the left side.
Stretching helps you move around a bit and prevents aches and pains, but you should also work a little harder during the day. Here are a few little exercises you can do without ever leaving the office:
- Wall Sits: Utilize the empty wall space in your office by taking a 30-second break for a wall sit. Stand with your back flat against the wall and slowly slide down until you are at a 90° angle with the floor. Hold the position for about 20 to 30 seconds and get back to work.
- Lunges: Lunges are a popular workout move, so bring those to your desk. Either perform stationary lunges at your desk or make your trips to the restroom, printer, and break room more interesting with walking lunges.
- Squats: To make squats more office friendly, perform the position in front of your desk chair and force yourself to sit for a brief second during each of your ten
- Glute Squeezes: If you are looking for a way to enhance your booty without anyone in the office noticing, try glute squeezes. While staying seated at your desk, simply squeeze the muscles in your behind as hard as you can. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds and then relax. Repeat often for the booty of your dreams.
- Push-ups: With so many ways to do push-ups, there are no excuses for not doing them in your office every couple hours. If you don’t want to do them on the floor, use your desk or the wall to perform the exercise. Do three sets of 10 reps at a time.
- Stationary Jog: Get a little 30 second to a minute jog in at your desk every 30 minutes or so. All you need to do is stand up, jog for a bit, and then get back to work. You can control the pace and feel good about all the extra steps you are working into your day.
- Tricep Dips: Do a little arm toning without leaving your desk with a few tricep dips a day. Use either your desk or a chair without wheels for this exercise. Facing away from the desk or chair, place your hands shoulder-width apart on the object, slide your butt off the chair with your legs extended in front of you. Straighten and lower your arms always leaving a slight bend in the elbow.
- Calf Raises: While standing behind your chair and holding on to it for support, raise your heels off the floor and stand on your toes. Slowly lower your feet back to the ground. Do three sets of 10.
All of these exercises are simple and easy to do at your desk without working up a sweat (we wouldn’t want you to lose any friends at work over sweat!). Remember to at least stand-up and walk around every few minutes, too.
Healthy Office Habits
There are a lot of lifestyle changes you can make that will healthier for you in the long run. Simple tasks like the ones listed below will help you stay a little more active.
- Park Farther Away: Instead of parking as close to the door as possible, challenge yourself to park at the back of the parking lot.
- Skip the Elevator: Use the stairs instead of the elevator to get more steps in every day.
- Take Walking Breaks: Instead of a smoke break or just a break to relax at your desk, take a walk during your 10 or 15-minute breaks. When it is nice outside, go out and get some fresh air.
- Skip Emails: When you need to talk to someone in a different department, force yourself to get up and go see them in person instead of settling for an email.
- Simply Stand Up: Instead of sitting while you are talking on the phone, take that time to stand up and maybe even pace around your office instead of staying slumped in front of your computer screen.
Plunkett Fitness hopes that these simple exercises and changes will help you get up and move a little more throughout the day, but there is no replacement for time in the gym. If you live in Overland Park, Kansas, Plunkett Fitness is ready to help you stay in shape. With personal training and group training options, you are sure to get the exercise you need to get and stay healthy. To start training with Plunkett Fitness, call 913-390-3360.