Your schedule is already jam-packed – Working 40+ hours a week, helping kids with their homework, taking care of your dog, cooking and preparing meals, commuting back and forth to work and home – it’s no wonder people feel like they are simply too busy to exercise.
So what can be done by someone stuck in this situation, particularly if their job doesn’t involve any real movement and is instead just 8+ hours of being stuck in a chair staring at a computer screen?
Fortunately, brief aerobics bouts, strength drills, and stretching between conference calls and online chats can help enhance fitness and heart health rates. While these deskercises or cubicle-bound desk exercises won’t promise Olympic metals or six-packed abs, they will help to keep your heart, mind, and body healthy.
Many of us find ourselves in jobs with very little ‘movement’, with most manual jobs being automated and as a result now most people seem to spend all day long sitting behind desks while staring at computer screens.
We find ourselves sitting down on the way to work, at work, on the way back home and generally sitting down at home while staring at our phones, laptops, or watching something on Netflix. Most people simply feel like they are too busy to exercise and it is very unlikely that you will be getting a lot of regular exercise unless you make a point to find a way to add exercise into your life.
We get started by adding little bits of exercise here and there, including adding exercise into our before work routines, our after work routines, and even during work (when possible).
EXERCISE BEFORE WORK
The amount of time you spend commuting to and from work each day is time spent sitting on your bum doing nothing but getting frustrated by traffic. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could use this time to get in a nice cardio session? Well you might be able to;
There are methods to integrate exercise into all commute types and lengths. Try speed walking, jogging or riding your bicycle to work rather than driving or taking public transportation if you live relatively close by.
If this isn’t an option due to how far away your workplace is from your home consider parking a little further away than usual so you have a bit of room to get a nice walk in. If you take public transportation, consider getting off the bus or subway a few stops sooner than you usually do. While this may not seem like much every little bit counts.
EXERCISE AT WORK | DESKERCISE
Stuck behind a desk all day? Consider trying to fit in some quick active breaks during your work day when possible. Even something a simple as standing up and stretching your legs or going for a brief walk to the water cooler and back can help keep your circulation going.
Here are some quick deskerscise’s you can do in the office, most of these can be done while in your desk chair, while some require you to stand up or get into a slightly different position so they might not all be doable depending on your workplace.
The Rubber Neck
- Sit up straight
- Drop your right ear down to your right shoulder (you don’t have to touch it!)
- Hold for five-six seconds
- Repeat this motion using your left ear and left shoulder
- Drop your chin down to your chest
- Gently roll your head from side to side.
The Wooden Leg
- Move your chair back a bit from your desk so that you have enough room to stretch out one of your legs
- Lift up on leg and stretch it out
- Hold the leg up for 10-30 seconds depending on your ability
- Put the leg down
- Switch to the other leg and do the same
- Bring your hands behind your back
- Press your palms together
- Sit up straight
- Hold for 5–10 seconds.
- Stand Up and move your desk chair out of the way
- Bend down your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the ground (like you’re almost about to sit down)
- Raise your arms out in-front of you for additional balance
- Try to hold the squat position for 10-30 seconds depending on your stamina level
- Stand up normally when done
- Repeat 3-5 times
- For this exercise you’ll want an office chair that wont roll away from you
- Put your legs in front of you and position your hands on either side of your hips, your thumbs pointing towards your desk
- Use both hands to grasp the edges of the chair and use your core and arms to lift your body up
- Hold For a second at the time then slowly lower your body back down toward the chair seat
- Push back up and repeat up to 10 times
- Stand with your back flat to the wall
- Slowly lower yourself down into a sitting position, keeping your back to the wall and you feet flat to the ground
- Hold in the ‘seated’ position for 10-60 seconds depending on your stamina level
- Stand up
- Repeat 3-5 times
REPLACE DESK CHAIR WITH A STABILITY BALL
Have anyone ever seen someone sitting on what looks like an exercise ball instead of a chair in an office environment? It’s not for convenience or a cool look— there are a lot of health advantages that come with simply sitting on a stability ball instead of a regular chair.
For one, by forcing proper spine alignment, it helps you to practice better posture. Sitting on a stability ball also strengthens your abdominal muscles, as these are the muscles that your body uses to make up for balance changes. Basically, every for all the time you spend sitting down, you will get a low-intensity abdominal exercise.
While at first you may not notice that you’re getting any exercise at all, after your first 30 minutes of sitting on a stability ball instead of a chair you might start to feel a bit tired, so it’s a good idea to keep a regular chair near-by if you decide to give using a stability ball a try.
EXERCISE AFTER WORK
As with before work, this portion of you day could include the addition of some light exercise via swapping out the car-ride for a jog or bike-ride. If that’s not an option though you could try to find some time in the later afternoon to hit a local gym for as little as 15 minutes, alternatively if you work afternoons this could be something you do in the mornings before work. Whatever option works best for your schedule.
You now have an arsenal of tips and tricks that you can use to assist you in getting around the problem of being too busy to exercise, now you can inject exercise time into various parts of your day.
Ideally, you should get up at least once an hour from your desk, even if you don’t have to do exercises at your desk. Set an alarm to remind you that excel worksheet will stop blinking and get up and move.
Did you know that walking for just two minutes an hour can reduce sitting’s negative effects?
Well, what are you waiting for? Get up and get active!