Simple Desk Exercises to Incorporate Into Your Day

Desk exercises? (Do I have to change into my workout clothes first? Nope!)

You may have heard that “sitting is the new smoking”. It’s true. Recent studies reveal that prolonged sitting (like at work) predispose you to increased blood pressure, diabetes and multiple cancers. Additionally, all of this sitting can add to depression or even make it worse. Yikes.

Exercise in menopause should be different. More strenuous or longer duration activity actually works against your desired outcome. Learn more here.

Well, don’t take this news sitting down! Here is what you need to do to get up and move without drawing too much attention to yourself in the office. And if others take notice, it’s probably a good thing to let them in on your secrets.

Top 3 Strength Burst Desk Exercises

  1. 1 Legged Squats – while standing, place all of your weight on one leg and bend at the knee (for a count of “down 2 up 2”); repeat for 15 reps; switch sides. When you get more advanced, hold the “down” count for 5-10 seconds. For stability, hold on to your desk, the back of your chair or a wall.
  2. Chair Tricep Dips – sit on a chair with your hands either next to your hips or slightly under the hips. Lift up on to your hands and bring your hips forward. Bend your elbows and lower your hips down, keeping shoulders down and hips close to the chair. Push back up but don’t lock your elbows and repeat.
  3. Chest and Shoulder Pumps – put your feet flat on the floor and place your hands on the chair armrests. Slowly lift your booty off of the chair. Lower yourself down but don’t go all the way down, just stop short. Raise yourself up again. Do this motion 10 times. Try another 10 reps. Work up to 3 sets.

Bonus points

  1. Balance test – while standing, put all of your weight on one leg. Lightly touch your desk, back of chair or wall for balance. When stable, close your eyes and continue to balance for 15 seconds. Switch sides. Build up time so you can hold each side for 30-45 seconds (with eyes closed if you are going for extra bonus points!). Hold your tummy in and engage your core stomach muscles for additional stability.
    1. Was that hard for you? It was for me the first time I tried it.
    2. As we age, for some people, balance does become an issue. But, with practice, you can get stronger in this area.
  2. Keagle Exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles – tighten and hold your pelvic floor muscle for a count of 10; release. Repeat 10 times. Stronger pelvic floor muscles will help with urine leakage which can be an issue in menopause. You can do this exercise anytime your want – no one will be the wiser. Try this idea in your car every time you are at a stop light.

Top 4 Stress Buster Stretches

  1. Reach for the Sky – sit up tall in your chair and extend your hands above your head for a good long stretch. After a count of 10, extend your right arm higher than your left. Repeat for the right side. Repeat sequence 5 times while taking deep cleansing breaths.
  2. Back Stretcher – place your hands flat on your desk and slowly push/roll your chair away from your desk. Hang your head so you’re looking at the floor. Push your head down just a little more and get a good stretch. Repeat 4 more times.
  3. Neck Turns – sit it facing forward with your feet flat on the floor. Turn your head to the right and your torso to the left. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with the alternate side. Repeat sequence 5 times.
  4. Neck Rolls – sitting up straight with shoulders down and feet flat on the floor, gently roll your head to the right towards your right shoulder. Place your right hand on the top of your head and gently and slowly press your hand a little lower. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat on the left side (using your left hand).

Other Tips

  1. Stand up while on your phone calls. When you’re making or receiving a call – get off of your bum! Having a habit of getting off of your chair during your calls is a great way to break up long sessions of sitting.
  2. Why 10,000 daily steps a day? Get your steps in anywhere you can. Park further away and take the stairs. Stand, don’t sit and WALK. If 10,000 steps seem unattainable set smaller goals more realistic goals to start. You WILL get to the promised land of 10,000 steps.
  3. Make a daily goal to speak to your co-workers face-to-face vs. sending emails. Not for everything obviously, but try for at least 20% of your interactions. If they are down the hall, up a few floors or maybe even 3 cubes away – get up and go see them in person. Relationship building in addition to moving more, nice work.
  4. Get a stand-up desk – there are many great alternatives available. https://www.varidesk.com/ is one awesome option and we give them high marks for stability, value, and versatility. They are also good when you work at home and have dogs underfoot. (We are not an affiliate – we just think they’re awesome.)

Action Steps

  1. Identify 2-3 desk exercises as your goal in the coming 72 hours that will get you off your backside more often during periods of sitting.
  2. Incorporate these ideas into practice so that they become a habit.

What’s your favorite desk exercise? Do you have any tips for getting in more steps at work?

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