Our Experts | Emma Krumlauf
Working at a desk or other sedentary job for 8 or more hours a day might not entail a lot of physical activity, but it doesn’t mean you still can’t fit fitness into your schedule. Doing different stretches and workout moves known as deskercises is a great way to help incorporate some physical activity into your busy work schedule.
While deskercises won’t train you to be America’s next Ninja Warrior, doctors say that any amount of exercise has its benefits. Since it’s recommended to do 30 minutes of moderate activity a day for 5 days a week, deskercises can help supplement your exercise routine when you have no time for the gym.
So what exercises can you do while at work, especially at your desk?
Hamstrings, Quads, Glutes
While sitting at your desk, keep your feet together and legs straight and raise your legs to a 90 degree angle, then return to starting position. Start with 20 reps, and try to increase reps and amounts as you progress.
This will help work your chest and shoulders. Place both hands on the arms of your chair and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. When lowering yourself back down, hold for a few seconds before you reach your seat. Do this 15 times.
Stand tall with your feet hip width apart and your arms down by your sides. Start to lower your body back as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees and pushing your body weight into your heels. As you are lowering into the squat your arms will start to raise out in front of you for balance. Keep a neutral spine at all times and never let your knees go over your toes. Pause then lift back up in a controlled movement to the starting position. Do 20 squats.
Just like a regular lunge, except when you lower, step backwards with one foot and lower your hips to the floor until your other knee forms a 90 degree angle. Then push yourself back up and repeat using the other leg. Do 15 reps on for each leg.
Arms, Chest, Shoulders
Make a W with your arms with elbows at chest level. Stretch one arm out straight, return to W form. Then stretch your other arm out straight and return. Do 15 reps 3 times on each arm.
Holding your arms straight out to your side, make small circular motions with your arms. This exercise has great variations such as making circles in a forward and backwards motion, as well as increasing the size of your circles. Try one for 30 seconds, then switch to another version for another 30 seconds.
Learn backwards on your desk with your hands shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forward and elbows pointing backwards with a slight bend. Have your legs extended out in front of you with a slight bend in the knee. Slowly lower your body until your shoulder joints are below your elbows. Push back up until your elbows are nearly straight but do not lock them out.
Using your desk, do a push-up with your legs extended out, arms straight. Lower your chest by bending your elbows till you almost touch the desk. Then straighten out your arms to raise yourself back up.
Make sure to do stretching before and after this workout routine as well as drink a lot of water throughout the day. If possible, park further away from the building to lengthen the distance of your walk into the office. If your office has multiple floors, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. Your lunch break can make or break your efforts. Go for a walk, or join a gym nearby if your work doesn’t offer one.
Changing your diet can have a huge impact on your overall health and wellness. Eating the proper foods will help support your workout efforts as well as give you more energy to work out more often and for longer intervals.