Sitting at a desk all day can be pretty draining, and research shows that prolonged sedentary time increases the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Unfortunately, as a writer I inevitably spend the better part of my days sitting, and while I try to fit in a workout as often as possible, the reality is that despite my best efforts, there are plenty of days where a visit to the gym, jog in the park or even quick high intensity workout just doesn’t happen.
The good news is that breaking up your office routine with light exercise every half hour or so can counteract the negative effects of sitting at a desk for hours on end. If you can’t remember to do this on your own, you could initially set a timer for every half hour to remind you to get up and move, but eventually it will become a habit.
Of course, these simple exercises are no substitute for the type of workout that leaves you feeling like a sweaty mess, but they can help you stay alert throughout the day and may even prolong your lifespan.
Walking will elevate your heart rate and improve your circulation, and it’s also the easiest way to exercise in the office without calling too much attention to yourself.
Try walking a few laps around the room the next time you have to make a phone call, and rather than emailing someone down the hall, you could get up and talk to them in person.
- Calf raises
Calf raises can be done unobtrusively next to your desk, and will strengthen your calf muscles while also improving your balance.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and press yourself up onto the tips of your toes. Hold the pose for a second, then lower yourself back down and repeat. You can even make the exercise more difficult by working one leg at a time.
- Standing tricep extensions
Tricep extensions will strengthen the muscles at the back of your upper arms, and although they’re usually done with a barbell or dumbbell, you can use anything from a large book to a water bottle.
Start by holding your weight behind your head with both hands and extending your arms upward. Then slowly drop them back down behind your head and repeat.
- Chair squats
Chair squats are great for your toning your legs and buttocks, but they’ll require a little more effort and you may attract a few stares from your coworkers while doing them.
To do these, stand in front of your chair with your feet hip-width apart and lower yourself down until your buttocks lightly touch the edge of the chair. Without sitting down, press yourself back up into a standing position and repeat.
This is another exercise you can do while making a phone call, and although it’s not as discreet as walking, lunges will get your heart rate up while working your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.
Stand up straight with your shoulders back, chin up and core engaged. Step forward with one leg and lower yourself until your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Push yourself back into a standing position and lower yourself again, this time using the opposite leg. Repeat until both legs are burning.
Featured photo credit: Photo by Benjamin Child via unsplash.com