Exercises You Can Do From Your Desk
Exercise has numerous health benefits for your body and brain, making your muscles and bones stronger, your heart healthier, and even uplifting your mood. But what if you have to sit at a desk all day at work and are too tired to exercise after long stressful hours.
This blog looks at exercises you can do from your desk, whether a sitting desk or a standing one, helping you stay active if you’re finding it difficult to fit in long workouts in your routine.
Simple Exercises You Can Do At A Seated Desk
Too much sitting is often associated with many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and weight gain. Your body simply wasn’t designed to sit in a chair for 8 hours a day. But even spending 5 to 10 minutes exercising at your desk can stimulate your metabolism and help you get fitter.
There’s other good news too, exercising at your desk doesn’t require any equipment or any further investment, and the more you move, the better you will feel. These exercises will also help to prevent stiffness and injury, eventually building up strength.
The exercises we share below are discreet too, no need to worry about coworkers knowing what you’re doing.
- Seated Core Exercise. Sit up straight in your chair and tilt your pelvis slightly forwards. Pull your belly button in and upwards; imagine you are pulling it towards your spine. Have a sense of ‘bracing yourself’ as if someone was going to punch you. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then relax. Repeat about 5 times.
- Leaning Back Core Exercise. Move forward until you are sitting on the edge of your chair. Engage your core muscles, again like bracing yourself, and lean slightly back, keeping your spine straight. Again hold for 10 to 15 seconds. If this doesn’t feel challenging enough, lift one foot off the ground as well. Repeat this 5 times.
- Shoulder Opener. As sitting at a desk often causes you to hunch over, your shoulders and chest muscles are likely to get tight over time. This exercise will counteract these effects by ‘opening’ your shoulders and chest. Sit in your chair and place the back of one hand on the small of your back, palm facing out. Press the hand into your back whilst pulling your elbow and shoulder backwards. Hold this for 10 seconds. Repeat this 3 times. Remember to do both sides.
- Shoulder Blade Pinches. Sit up tall. Imagine you are balancing a book on your head and engaging your core muscles. Now imagine you are trying to hold a pencil between your shoulder blades, making you pull them back and together. Relax and repeat 20 times.
- Torso Twist. Sit up tall and straight. Breathe in, and as you breathe out, twist around to one side as if you are turning from the waist to look over your shoulder. While you are twisted, take 5 deeper breaths, seeing if you can turn a little more each time. Repeat on the other side.
- Quad pulses. Remember to sit up, spine straight, imagine you have a £50 note between your thighs, and you don’t want to drop it. Squeeze your thighs together, then straighten one leg. Pulse the straight leg 4 to 6 cms, keeping your thighs squeezed together. Pulse about 20 times, then repeat with the other leg.
- Seated march. Like the previous exercise, start sitting up tall with your thighs squeezed together. This time straighten one leg, tighten your thigh muscle, flex your foot then return it to the floor. Repeat on the other side. Remember to keep your thighs squeezed together. Alternate your legs, repeating 10 times on each side.
If you are not worried about your coworkers, or maybe you could get them to join in and get fitter together, you might like to try the following, more vigorous exercises:
- Tricep dips. Make sure you are using a stationary chair. Sit at the front edge of the chair and place your palms, fingers facing forwards, on either side of you. Bend your elbows back and lower yourself off the chair and down towards the ground by a few cms, keeping your back straight and as close to the chair as possible. Straighten your arms to rise. Repeat up to 20 times.
- Desk push-ups. Make sure your desk is strong enough to take your body weight and sturdy enough not to slip. Take a few steps back so that you can place your hands flat on your desk, a little wider than the width of your shoulders. Engage your core muscles, lower yourself towards the desk, and push back until your arms are straight, remembering not to lock them.
- Chair squats. A simple squat exercise, all you need to do is stand up from your chair and lower yourself back down, stopping just before your buttocks hit the seat. Try to keep your weight in your heels. Repeat 10 times.
- Seated bicycle crunches. Sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your head, link your fingers if you can, elbows out to the sides. Now lift one knee and bring the opposite elbow down to meet it, twisting your body towards it. Then return to sitting up straight. Try 15 twists on each side.
- Lower Abs leg lifts. Sit up straight and engage your core. Put your feet flat on the floor. Lift one leg up. Repeat 20 times on each side.
- Triceps stretch. Raise one arm and bend it so that your hand reaches to touch the opposite shoulder blade, then use your other hand to pull the elbow forward towards your head. Hold for 2 or 3 breaths and repeat on the other side.
There are many other exercises you could do around the workplace, simple lunges, wall press-ups or calf raises but the main thing is to remember to move regularly. Take a walk at lunchtime if you can, use the stairs instead of the lift, and get up from your desk every half hour or so.
Standing Desk Exercises
If you have chosen a standing desk, you’re probably aware of the risks of sitting for long hours and want to make positive changes for your body. But unfortunately, standing isn’t going to solve everything. Studies show that moving from a seated desk to a standing one barely increases the calories you burn. Plus, standing too long can cause joint and leg pain.
However, there are some standing desk exercises you can do to help.
- Calf raises. Engage your core and straighten your spine. Rise onto your toes, lifting your heels off the floor. Move slowly, at least two counts going up and then the same back down. Repeat 15 to 20 times.
- Standing leg extensions. Engage your core. Extend one of your legs straight behind you, also engaging your glutes as you lift. Bring the leg back down. Repeat 12 to 25 times.
- Standing calf stretch. Put the ball of one foot against the leg of your desk, keeping your heel on the floor. Lean towards the desk and feel your calf muscles stretch. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- Standing chest stretch. Clasp your hands behind your back and then straighten your arms at the same time as drawing your shoulder blades down. Feel your chest stretch. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and repeat.
- Standing twist. Bend one of your knees and lift it up in line with your hips so that you are balancing on the other leg. Place the opposite hand on the lifted knee and twist from the waist towards that knee. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Can You Lose Weight Just By Exercising?
Unfortunately not, exercising whilst ignoring your diet is not a good weight-loss strategy. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Exercising alone will probably not create enough of a calorie deficit, especially if the only exercise you can do has to be fitted around a busy job.
That’s why Mediweight, a medically supervised weight loss programme supervised by doctors can help you to reach and maintain your weight loss goals. Mediweight is tailored to your personal needs and not only helps you lose body fat but also includes specialist body contouring treatments designed to firm, tone and tighten your body.
- Too much sitting is often associated with many health problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and weight gain.
- Seated and standing desk exercises can help you to get fitter, boost your metabolism and raise your energy levels.
- Unfortunately exercise alone whilst ignoring your diet is not a good weight loss strategy, you need a calorie deficit to lose weight.
- Mediweight, a medically supervised weight loss programme supervised by doctors, tailored to your personal needs.
Introducing Mediweight a body transformation programme that delivers fast, effective, medically supervised weight loss. Call our specialist Mediweight advisers to find out more about the programme and book your doctor consultation.
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