When you're a busy young professional, working to meet deadlines at the office and get past the first few rungs of the career ladder, it's hard to imagine keeping up with an intense fitness regimen. I get it - when you're busy busting your tush at work, it feels like a lot to ask to bust your tush at the gym.
But sitting down in that office chair all day might come with a price. As good as exercise is for you, the opposite - that is, sitting at your desk all day - is bad for you. A recent study even found that sitting for more than three hours a day might even shorten your life. Getting up regularly is good, but what if there was a way to exercise and still get your work done? Enter 'desk'ercise!
What is 'desk'ercise?
Unless you have a computer screen set up over your treadmill, it may be hard to imagine what 'desk'ercise could be. Essentially, 'desk'ercise is a set of moves you can do at your desk (usually while sitting down, or around the office without being too conspicuous) to keep your heart pumping and calories burning. It's not quite as cardiovascularly-intense as a run along the river, of course, but it's better than nothing!
Pumping iron (while pumping up productivity)
There are plenty of ways you can use your muscles during the workday (and for more than typing or writing!) Remember - exercise really just means using your muscles and bones.
Sit cross-legged in your desk chair and lift yourself up with your hands on the arm rests so you hover about an inch over the seat - this will work your arms, chest, back and core muscles. You can work your legs by sitting at the edge of your chair, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, then lift one leg up, straighten it, and hold out in front of you so it is parallel with the floor. Hold this move for five seconds, then repeat on the other side.
You can also strengthen your hips and abs by sitting up straight at the edge of your chair, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, then lift your knees up toward your chest while tightening your abs. Lift each leg about 15 times.
Stretch it out
Stretching your body is just as important as using those muscles. Stretch every so often to relieve tension - especially around the neck, shoulders and back. Every so often, stretch your neck by touching your ear to your shoulder, holding it there, then repeat on the other side. Open up your chest by stretching your arms backward, imagining trying to hold a pencil between your shoulder blades. You can also stretch your forearms - the part affected by carpal tunnel! - by standing at your desk and set your palms on your desk with your fingers facing you. Lower your body slowly until you feel the stretch, and hold for 15 seconds.
Don't forget your other opportunities to work out!
There are opportunities throughout the day to pack in a little fitness, including the time between when you leave your apartment and sit down at your desk. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from the office than normal and take that lunch break you deserve and use it to take a stroll (or a speed-walk!) around the building.
Within the workplace, you can encourage yourself to get up by drinking lots of water (more bathroom breaks!) and putting the printer or copy machine across the room, so you have to get up to use them.