We all know the dangers of leading a sedentary lifestyle – think heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and more. But getting thirty minutes of exercise or walking 10,000 steps a day is sometimes easier said than done when you’re seated at your desk from 9 to 6, excluding walking to the nearest eating place for lunch and back, and running to catch the bus or train for your daily commute.
Still, it doesn’t mean you have to kiss your weight-loss goals goodbye. Here are some simple moves you can do at your desk to get your heart pumping and burn more calories. Best of all, they won’t make you all sweaty and stinky in your working environment.
(Featured Image: The Yogi Movement)
(Photo: Fast Company)
1) Stand at your desk
This is one of the easiest changes you can make at your workplace to burn more calories. A team of researchers from the University of Chester has found out that you burn 50 more calories per hour standing up than sitting down. That means if you stand at your desk for an hour in the morning, plus another hour in the afternoon – that’s two hours a day – you can burn the equivalent of a plate of chicken rice (about 600 calories) in just three days!
For those who are not into standing, sit on a gym ball instead. It burns as many calories as standing up. If you’re hardcore enough, using a gym ball as your chair the entire day helps you burn about 400 more calories a day, and improve your core strength, posture, balance, and stability at the same time too! The drawback is that you may get backache from holding the position for a prolonged period of time.
(Photo: Huffington Post)
2) Little stretches from head to toe every couple of hours
This sequence of movements will loosen up your muscles to help combat the stiffness that can set in when you sit and use the computer for a long stretch of time.
Neck and shoulders: Squeeze your shoulders up as if trying to touch them to your ears, hold for three seconds, then relax. Next, squeeze your shoulder blades backwards, opening up your chest, hold for three seconds, then bring them forward, hunching your back, and hold for another three seconds, then relax.
Wrists: Hold your hands straight in front of you and rotate your wrists, five times clockwise, then five times anti-clockwise.
Torso: Place your palms on the back of your head, elbows pointing to the sides, then rotate your torso to face the left, hold, and repeat on your right.
Legs: Raise both your feet, so your legs are straight. Flex your feet and feel the stretch in your calves, hold for three seconds, then relax. Rotate your ankles five times in the clockwise direction, then repeat in the anti-clockwise direction.
Repeat this every hour or two, and you’ll find your focus improving from the rush of blood too.
(Photo: JSC Fitness)
3) Incline push-ups
Tone your arms by moving into a plank position with your palms, shoulder-width apart, on your table. Do five to ten incline push-ups. This works your arms and core muscles like its “normal” counterpart, but is less prone to making you perspire as it is less strenuous. If you feel up to it, do two reps.
4) Chair Squats
Work the best exercise for your glutes into your deskercise. Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands held straight in front of you, shoulders relaxed. Your chair’s seat should be knee-high, and close enough to you so that your butt can touch the seat when you squat down. Hold the squat for a second or two, without sitting down fully, then resume standing position. Do five to 10 squats, twice a day.
This is a great calorie-burning exercise – just make sure that you don’t fall down if you’re using a swivel chair that moves.
5) Reverse crunches
Sit upright with your feet planted on the floor. Keep your elbows tucked to the sides of your body, then squeeze your abdominal muscles while bringing your thighs to your chest. Keep your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and relax your ankles. Hold for three seconds, then bring both your feet down gently. Repeat ten times.
By varying the above exercises throughout your day, you get to work out different parts of your body while seated at your desk. And the benefits are more than just toned arms, abs and legs – the physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins, also known as happy hormones, to help you fight the endless stress at work. Your memory will improve, and you will also be able to focus better (read: finish up your work faster). So file away all your excuses and start moving now!