March 14, 2016

by Mankato Clinic

Every now and then life gets in the way of being able to get in the recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity. Before we know it, we start saying “I’ll start again next week; I’m just too busy to work out today.”

 But, did you know that you can actually work out at work? Deskercising, or working out at your desk, can help fill in the gaps in your exercise schedule and, because any amount of activity helps, the benefits are cumulative.

Our bodies aren’t meant to sit behind a desk for 8-12 hour a day and be sedentary. That’s why it’s important to get up and move at least once an hour, even if it means taking a walk to fill up your water bottle or stretching your legs on the way to the bathroom.

You may have an ergonomically correct desk or office chair, but constant sitting tends to produce headaches, back pain and listlessness – a combination of which can cause us to become less productive the more we sit.

By working on stretching, muscle-strengthening and doing short stints of aerobic exercises at your desk, following these steps can help lead you to a happier work life. Try these tips between tasks, on breaks and, some, while you’re working. Every minute of deskercising goes a long way for your health.

  • Instead of the elevator, choose the stairs. To challenge yourself, take steps two at a time.
  • While seated, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds, and then rapidly tap your feet on the floor, football-drill style, for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
  • Do walk-lunges in your office or in a vacant room.
  • Simulate jumping rope for a minute: hop on alternate feet or on both feet at once.
  • Sitting in a chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out and hold for 2 seconds and then lower your foot, stopping just short of the floor. Hold for several seconds and switch. Repeat this move 15 times.
  • To work your shoulders and chest, place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your buttocks off the chair. Lower yourself back down, stopping just short of the seat, hold for a few seconds and repeat 15 times.
  • Do one-legged squats by holding onto a wall or table for support.
  • Sitting in your chair, stretch both arms over your head, reaching for the ceiling. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
  • Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right and hold for a few seconds. Repeat 15 times, alternating left and right.
  • Walk during your lunch break.
  • Push your chair away from your desk and put your right heel on the desk. Sit up straight, bending forward until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Flex your foot for a few seconds, then point it. Bend forward a little farther, flex your foot again and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the left heel.