“I cannot sit here another second,” I mutter to myself.
A co-worker next to me hears my whisper and responds, “same here, let’s go for a walk.”
“Can’t– deadline. Gr.”
If you’re someone with a desk job, you know how hard it can be to stay in one chair, at one desk for one hour. Usually it’s upwards eight to nine hours for a typical person. WHAT!?
It blows my mind that people all over the United States, and even stretching to other countries, we’re all just sitting. Working. Co-existing in chairs with our hands on keyboards or mouses.
Let’s change this. Let’s start working out at our desks!
Now you may say, well, I stand at my desk sometimes. I go up on my calves, on my tippy toes. I take the stairs.
Ok. Well, good job. But in order to keep your back and shoulders from giving out in five years, we’ll need to take that a couple steps further.
Even though we think standing up at our desks is better for us and that it may drastically change how we feel– it never does. You know that yourself! You’re just standing in the place you were just sitting, wishing you could do some unembarrassing exercises at your desk while working.
Studies do show, however, that standing significantly increases our daily caloric expenditure, so it’s a better idea to stand than sit at your desk. Long periods of sitting are linked to increased risk for diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, according to the Diabetes Research Department of the University Hospitals of Leicester, the University of Minnesota and the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Dr. James A. Levine of the Mayo Clinic also said that people who sit four or more hours a day have nearly 50% increased death of any cause, as well as “about a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack.”
He also said that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.
But that’s something I aim to change.
It’s crazy how often we find ourselves sitting. I know that you’ve heard this before. You sit eating breakfast. You sit in your car on the way to work. You sit at work. And then you sit on your way home from work and some of us, well, some of us sit in our homes even AFTER work is over, because we’re mentally exhausted from the day!
How can we ever survive in this world with all of this mandatory sitting?
I guess, if we think it isn’t mandatory, that’s how we’ll survive. I now think of movement as mandatory. My managers aren’t paying me to get unhealthier. If I’m to be of use, I need to be healthy, at the top of my game and physically and mentally happy in order to complete my work and better the company.
Thus, I think of getting out of my chair and moving around as doing the company good. I am bettering myself as well as my employer by getting off of my butt, pardoning myself from work for five or ten minutes every hour and pursuing a different type of exercise.
Time magazine has incredible ideas for in-the-office workouts. Ones that, though I’ve thought to attempt, never actually have. But they’re so simple!
A few of my favorites are:
- The Book Press
I don’t know why I’ve never thought of this one; there are so many books on my desk.
But this exercise is incredibly easy. With many reps, probably not, but in terms of what you need– really easy. All you need is a large book, or one that seems to weigh enough to somewhat strain your triceps, hold that book in between both palms with your arms stretched overhead, and then slowly lower the book behind your head/neck until the book touches the back of your shoulder blades. This works your triceps!
You can also try desk dips to work the triceps.
- Chair Squats
I was going to recommend office yoga second, but I chose to spare you the “embarrassing” office workouts– ones that you could do without a crowd of people staring up your pencil skirt.
For this exercise, Time suggests standing six inches in front of your chair. From there, squat down until your butt gently touches the seat and stand back up immediately. Continue those squats until you feel yourself getting a mad toned booty.
- Wall Sits
This exercise is great for your quads. Sit up against a wall at a 90 degree angle for as long as you can stand, or in 30 second increments. Then, try it again. Do it as often as you like!
- Desk Push-Ups
This one is pretty simple too. Hands on edge of desk. Push off and then continuously go up and down in push-up succession until your pecs are as solid as a paper weight.
If you’re still not convinced that sitting is probably not the best option at work, maybe just try these moves out for fun and see if you like the mix-up in your routine. There are hundreds of different desk exercises, so don’t fear looking any up or consulting colleagues who have also Googled themselves.
Truth is, if you’ve thought it, someone else has, too. Don’t be alone on this journey to a healthier workspace. Invite a friend!