We all have good intentions when it comes to working out, but with work and family and social events at the top of our to-do lists, it’s often hard to find time to hit the gym. However, jobs that require you to sit in front of a computer screen all day can be hazardous to your waistline, and your health. According to recent studies, 25% of Americans get no exercise at all, and our jobs may be partly to blame. A 2012 study found that less than 20% of jobs require physical activity, down from nearly 50% in the 1960s! Sitting for prolonged periods of time can up your risk for heart disease since you are only burning about a calorie per minute, and we all know staring at a computer screen can be tough on the eyes. With all of this new information, it’s easy to see how constant pressures at work can affect our overall level of health and fitness. So the next time you find yourself glued to that desk, give yourself a little boost with these simple moves you can do right there in your chair!
- Grab a water bottle and do two to three sets of biceps curls on each arm at 20 reps each. You can also do this with front arm raises and overhead presses.
- Use your desk or chair (as long as it’s not on wheels!) and do two sets of twenty triceps dips.
- While taking a call or checking your voicemail, do a wall sit. See if you can hold it for the duration of the call!
- Sit on your chair with your butt towards the front of the seat (make sure it’s not going to roll out from under you!). Keep one foot on the floor, and the other slightly raised out in front. Using the arm rests for balance, raise your butt up off the chair, hold for one count, and slowly lower back down. Do this eight to twelve times, and then repeat with the other leg.
- Do a quick leg extension by sitting upright with both hands on your chair, and extending your leg out as far as possible for a count of three to five seconds. Do fifteen to twenty reps per leg.
- Stand up and do a few calf raises. If you’re wearing heels, kick them off and give your feet and toes a good stretch before sitting back down.
- Perform a “knee-in” by sitting on the edge of your seat and extending your legs out in front of you. Grab the sides of the chair, lift your legs about 6 inches off the floor, lean back slightly, and draw your knees inward toward your chest. Do this as many times as you can before your coworkers start looking at you funny.
- If knee-ins are a little too much for your crowded office, just do a couple ab squeezes for about 3 to 5 seconds each and repeat as often as you can. You can also do a few glute squeezes using the same counts and the same amount of discretion!
A Few Additional Tips
- Try to stand up once every hour and stretch a little. Maybe take a few calls while standing, or take a walk down to the break room for some water. This is important not only to get your blood flowing, but to give your eyes a break from that keyboard!
- Don’t sit still! It is estimated that mindless fidgeting can burn up to 300 calories per day depending on the kind and frequency of fidgeting you do. So the next time you catch yourself wiggling that foot, just remind yourself that you’re just burning off a few extra calories!
- Take a few extra steps every day. Instead of fighting for that front row parking space, park a few spaces back so you have to walk a little farther. Take the stairs in lieu of the elevator (provided you’re not on the 20th floor!). Just remember that all movement burns calories, and little moves like this throughout the day really can add up!