It may not come as a surprise to you that office workers are spending too much time sitting down and not enough time moving around. As a result of this, many Americans suffer from back pain, weight gain and just plain restlessness. I mean, who doesn’t constantly feel the urge to get up and feed their caffeine addiction (even if it is your 10th cup of the day)? Most likely, it’s because you’re tired of sitting still and you need an excuse to stretch your legs. Thankfully, there are plenty of other things, aside from caffeine breaks, that we can do to move around more in the office.
Deskercise, which is a clever fusion of the words desk and exercise (I blame celebrity super couple names for this), allows you to get your heart pumping and the blood flowing without leaving work! Even better, it’s a great addition to your frugal fitness routine.
To help get you started on your new office workout routine, I’ve compiled a list of my 5 favorite desk exercises.
1. Squat it Out
A great deskercise to improve blood flow and open up your hips, is the classic squat. Simply stand up with your feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees and drive them out. Remember to keep your core tight by squeezing your butt and looking straight ahead. Begin with 3 reps of 10 squats each, and increase it once it becomes too easy.
You can do this exercise right above your chair if you feel a little awkward about exercising at your cubicle. Doing it this way will allow you to quickly sit down should someone pass by. If you’re not feeling shy, you can step away from your chair and perform it close to your desk. No matter where you choose to perform this desk move, it’s sure to deliver some great results.
Warning: Side effects may include buying new jeans.
2. Run in Place
Take some time out of your day to stand up and… (wait for it) … run in place! Yep, you read that right. Running in place may sound a little ridiculous, but the benefits will definitely outweigh the silliness. No thorough explanation needed for this simple exercise, just run in place for 45 second intervals with 15 seconds to catch a breather. Repeat until you tire yourself out enough to begin another round of productive work time. The benefits to this exercise not only include a few burned calories but also relief from leg and calf pain.
Bonus Tip: If you want a little desk get-away, schedule a walking meeting. Walking meetings are a great way to get out of a creative rut, and adding a few more steps to your fitness tracker doesn’t hurt either.
3. Exercise Your Eyes
Keeping fit, isn’t all about flexing those big biceps, but includes working other smaller muscle groups too – like your eyes. For those of us that stare at a screen, tablet, and smartphone all day (basically, I am looking at everyone when I say this) make sure to give them a rest. You can use an app that forces you to take a break from your screen every hour. To get a little zen and refreshed, take two minutes to close your eyes and clear your mind. You’ll get a double whammy of benefits that takes care of your eyes and clears your head!
4. Stretch Your Lower Back
While we know that moving around and exercising is great for our health, we can’t forget to stretch! It upsets me how many people leave during the stretch portion in an exercise class, when it’s one of the most important parts of class. Stretching is crucial to our health! That’s why you should incorporate it in your deskercise routine.
As we established earlier, sitting down all day definitely takes a toll on our backs so stretching out the kinks there should be the first place you focus. Try a lower back stretch like this one that uses a forward bending motion to relieve the tension in the muscles. Begin by scooting to the very end of your office chair, widen your stance generously, drop your hands to your sides and bend forward until your head hangs between your legs. Hold this stretch for one second and repeat 10 times.
5. Give Yourself a Mini-Massage
Who says you can’t pamper yourself with a little massage at work? Grab a hard ball (lacrosse balls usually work best) and place it underneath your feet or hamstrings and apply some weight. Roll it back and forth, similar to how you would use a foam roller. Doing this relieves muscle tightness, releases knots and helps reduce stress. This deskercise secret is one your massage therapist doesn’t want you to know since doing this regularly may keep you from needing a professional massage visit (shhhhhh..I won’t tell if you don’t).
Incorporate these desk exercises to your deskercise repertoire to keep healthy and fit. If you’re really feeling up to a fitness challenge, consider using fitness technology to get in shape!
We’d love to hear which tip worked the best for you, or if you have other frugal fitness tips you’d like to share. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!