Americans are remarkably sedentary. If you work from your desk most of the time, you’re probably living a sedentary lifestyle outside of work, too–and that can create a host of medical issues and chronic problems that could plague you for the rest of your life.
Almost half of the adults in the U.S. admit they don’t get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week. Exercising at your desk, or “deskercise,” has become popular because it enables you to get your exercise quota met while you continue to work.
Deskercise has taken off in recent years because people want to combat their sedentary habits and start being more active while boosting productivity.
There are tons of exercises that can be done right from your desk or chair, and they only take a few minutes to complete in the privacy of your office (or home).
Before you get started…
- Adjust your desk chair to the right height–you should be in a 90-90-90 position when you sit. This reduces neck and back strain.
- Make sure the top third of your computer monitor is above your eye level to reduce eye and neck strain.
- Stretch before you begin exercising: Roll your neck, touch your toes, stretch your arms.
For Achy Wrists
Keep carpal tunnel at bay with this exercise. Stand up from your desk, place your palms on the desk with your fingers pointed (hands turned inward) toward you. Slowly lower yourself until you can feel the stretch (you won’t have to lower yourself much). Hold this position for 15 seconds. Repeat any time you need a stretch.
Fingers Up the Wall
Stand about a foot away from the wall. Place your palms flat on the wall and push against the wall. Now, still pushing, curve your fingers up and begin “walking” them up the wall, pressing through your forearms, core, and chest. Pause when you reach your full arm extension, exhale, and slowly walk your fingers back down to your starting position. Repeat 5 times.
For Your Core and Arms
Magic Carpet Ride
Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat. Then place your hands on the armrests, suck in your gut and raise yourself a few inches above the seat, using your belly, muscles and hands. Hold this position for 10-20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
For Lower Body Strength
The Wooden Leg
Sit in your chair. Extend one leg in front of you. Hold it there for 2 seconds. Now, raise it as high up as you can, and hold it again for 2 seconds. Repeat with each leg 15 times.
The Posture Perfect
Sit in your chair with your bottom pressed against the back of the chair and your back and neck straight. Extend both legs in front of you. Place a heavy book or binder on your ankles and over your feet so it’s balanced. Slowly drop your feet to the floor, keeping the book balanced and focusing on holding your posture correctly. Exhale. As you breathe in, slowly lift your legs again. Exhale. Repeat 10 times.
Other ways to stay healthy at work:
- Be the person who always takes the stairs. Think of the elevator as your enemy!
- Sit on an exercise ball instead of your chair for an hour each day.
- Next time you need to tell a coworker or employee something, walk over to them instead of emailing.
- Park as far away from the entrance as you can (and invest in an umbrella).
- Bring a jug of water and mark it by time of day so you can stay on track and hydrated.
- Bring your lunch every day.
- Take a walk on your lunch break.