Best Exercises for People With Desk Jobs
People with desk jobs soon learn that the more months they spend in their office sitting at a desk, the bigger the part of their bodies they sit on tends to get. In fact, terms like “secretary spread” and “office butt” were coined specifically to describe this phenomenon. While long hours of working at a desk can have a negative impact on one’s health, this does not need to be the case. The five workouts discussed below will help people with desk jobs keep fit and healthy, even when putting in long overtime hours.
- Discreet Chair Exercises
- Walking Breaks
- Active Commuting
- Lunch Time Exercise
- Walking or Stationary Cycling Desks
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Discreet Chair Exercises
Sitting at a desk sounds as though it means being inactive, but actually, it can be incorporated into an exercise program. There are several forms of discreet exercise one can do while working at a computer or taking phone calls including ankle circles, flexing and pointing feet, toe raises, bending and straightening one’s legs and side-to-side leg movements. Even isometric exercises such as tightening and relaxing hip muscles and thigh squeezes improve muscle tone and circulation. A desk work-out can offer a broad range of benefits.
Walking or Stair-Climbing Breaks
According to the Mayo Clinic, prolonged sitting can have many negative effects on one’s health. People with desk jobs should schedule five-minute walking breaks every hour. When using the rest room or getting a cup of coffee, take a few laps around the corridors or walk up and down several flights of stairs for five minutes. This not only improves one’s health but also may mean being more alert and able to work more efficiently when one returns to one’s desk.
Sitting in a car while commuting adds even more inactive time to a long day at a desk job. If possible, consider walking or biking to work. If not possible, take a short walk before getting into a car or public transit and then another walk around the parking lot before heading in to work. Always look for parking spaces as far away from the door as possible to maximize distance walked.
Lunch Time Exercise
Rather than sitting at a desk or restaurant over lunch, use the time to visit a nearby fitness facility or take a walk or bike ride outdoors.
Walking or Stationary Cycling Desks
For people who work at home or at innovative companies committed to employee health, it may be possible to work at a standing treadmill desk or on a stationary bicycle for part of the day in order to incorporate more physical activity into a desk job.
Conclusion: Office Diet and Exercise Discipline
If one has a physically demanding job, such as working as a ski instructor or sheep-herder, one does not need to worry about losing fitness or gaining weight. Since sitting at a desk does not use many muscles or burn calories, office workers need to be more disciplined about both diet and exercise. This does not mean that people with desk jobs will automatically become fat and flabby, but rather that one needs to make an effort to avoid high-calorie snacks and long sedentary periods when working at a desk in order to maintain one’s weight and fitness levels. Consider a desk work-out or one of the other great exercises mentioned here to help you get moving more.