While in the workplace we become sedentary due to a lack of movement over an extended amount of time. By being overwhelmed with work to meet deadlines, we forget to take a break to stretch our body. We focus ourselves on increasing our time to work while inadvertently decreasing our muscle quality. These desk exercises will not only increase the muscle quality, but will be a quick way to freshen-up to help increase your work productivity as an energy boost. You can share these exercise with your colleagues and your patients as quick tips to improve their overall health.
Did you know you can utilize your chair and desk as a tool for exercise? Whether your chair is stationary or mobile, the chair can be a useful tool to get you started when dealing with stress at work or simply staying active. Here are six exercises that you can do at your desk in between your eight-hour workday.
- Abs: First, start by sitting to the edge of your chair. Lean back and bring your knees to your chest as high as possible, with as many repetitions as possible. This exercise is called a full extension. It is a core exercise that allows you to engage your lower abdomen and strengthens your lower back.
- Practice Balance: You can utilize your desk as a balance for unilateral exercises. Stand up in front of your desk bring one leg to the back of your thigh hold it there. With the other leg bring your heel off the floor and allow yourself to pause while your heel is in the air. Slowly bring the heel back down to the surface. This is called a single leg calf raise. Calf raises improve ankle stability and balance.
- Desk Push-up: Place your palms on the desk. Bring your legs back and have your body at a 45-degree angle. This is the position of an incline plank. You can hold this position for 20 seconds to a minute depending on how well you can stabilize your shoulders and core. Once you fulfill the stabilization of a desk incline plank, start to lower your chest to the edge of your desk to perform a incline push-up. A modify the push-up, bring one leg forward. This provides an assist to your triceps if you currently lack the strength. Do your best to perform this exercise 8 to 10 times repetition. Always know your limits and there is always room for improvement.
- Legs: Stand to the side of your chair for balance and begin to bring one foot forward. Lower your knees towards the floor. This is called a lunge; a glute and leg work out. If you are having knee complications, you can always do a quarter lunge so that the knee will not be aggravated. Do this exercise with 12 repetitions on each leg. Lunges targets the quadriceps, but involves multiple muscles including your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core muscles. Lunges are great for toning the lower body.
- Arms: You can use utensils around your office desk such as a stapler, for a hand weight, or your lunch bag as a kettlebell. You will be performing arm exercises with these tools. Take your arms straight out away from your body and make small circles. This is a circle rotation, which works the shoulders muscles. Next, bring your arms by your side and start to bring your fist to your shoulders. This is a bicep curl. Finally, bring your hands above your head, bend your elbows to the back of your head and go back to the starting position above your head. This is an overhead triceps extension. With these three exercises you are working your shoulders, your biceps, and your triceps. Keep high repetition, between 15 to 30 to tone your arms.
- Need a quick “pick me up”? Jump! When sitting at your desk you are limited to space, but do not be discouraged. You can also still perform callisthenic exercises in your cubicle or workspace. Jumping jacks are a great way to increase the heart rate and constantly get the blood flowing. Callisthenic exercises prompt you to stay alert for the rest of the day. You can modify a jumping jack with a single leg Jack by stepping out to the side and bring your arms above the head simultaneously. Keep your repetitions high; between 15 to 30.
Continue to keep yourself motivated and keep yourself moving! Watch more tips on how you can keep your body moving even when you are limited on space.