Deskercise: 10 Ways To Stay Fit During The Work Day

Research shows that changing our sedentary habits is one of the most effective ways of preventing type 2 diabetes.

Are you are familiar with the “Get fit, don’t sit” challenge? (if not, please see our post from April 29th). “Get fit, Don’t sit” is recognized as a commitment to getting up and moving at least every 90 minutes during the day. In an effort to help support and maintain this lifestyle change, here are a few quick and easy suggestions to help you stay fit throughout your busy work day: Deskercise.

First, stretching is important and can help relieve pain and tension. Try stretching your neck: slowly touch your ear to each shoulder and hold it there for 3 deep breathes. For a chest opener, grasp your hands together behind your back and extend your arms holding for 10 seconds; then reach up and behind your head, stretching your arms back as if you were trying to grab a pencil between your shoulder blades. Shoulder shrugs are a really easy one- just pull your shoulders as high as you can (toward your ears) and roll them forward ten times and backward ten times.

Worried about carpal tunnel? Do you spend most of your day attached to a key board? Try these 3-4 times a day for 15-30 seconds each to decrease your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome:

Wrist Extensor and Flexor stretches: Extend your arm in front of you with your palm down. Bend your wrist, pointing your hand down, toward the floor. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist farther until you feel a mild to moderate stretch. Now, (bending your wrist) point your fingers up towards the ceiling. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist farther until you feel a mild to moderate stretch. Don’t forget to stretch both hands!

For those that wish to keep their activity on the DL, here are a few “Deskercise” exercises to try discreetly while sitting at a desk, reading emails or on a call:

  • Toe taps: touch toes to side, center, forward and back (if chair allows). Repeat with each leg 15 times.
  • Toe raises: Lift your toes while keeping your heels on the floor.Deskercise: Leg extensions
  • Calf raises: Raise your heels off the floor and slowly lower them.
  • Leg extensions: Extend one leg out straight in front of you. Hold for two seconds. Then raise it up as high as you can, and hold it again for two seconds. Repeat with each leg 15 times.
  • Gluteal isometrics AKA Silent Seat Squeeze: simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds, and release. Repeat for 10 reps.
  • Abdominal Squeeze: This one can be covertly executed while walking down the hall or seated during a call. Simply take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 12-15 reps.

In the hall by yourself? Do some walk-lunges to your destination.

If you are fortunate enough to be encouraged and well supported, or you just want something a little more exciting, try some of these basics throughout your day:

  • The Stapler Curl: Trusty staplers are always guarded closely, especially the red ones. This one is like a bicep curl with a dumbbell, but use what you have at your desk. No stapler? Try a full water bottle. Seated or standing, take the stapler in one hand with palm facing up. Starting at the thighs, bend the elbow and curl the arm up towards the chest. Pause momentarily and then lower the stapler back down. Continue for 12-15 reps, then switch.
  • Tricep Dips: Use a sturdy desk or a non-rolling chair. Sit at the very edge and place hands on either side of the body while gripping the edge. With feet planted on the floor a step or two away from the desk or chair, straighten up the arms to lift up the body. Next, bend the arms to reach a 90-degree angle so that your body dips down, hold, and re-straighten while keeping the body raised above the chair. Complete 8-10 reps.
  • Deskercise: Tricep DipsModified Wall Push-Up: Standing one to two feet from a sturdy wall, lean forward until palms are flush against the wall, with arms straight and parallel to the ground. Next, bend the elbows to bring the body towards the wall, hold for two seconds, and then push back to the starting position. Complete 12-15 reps.
  • Plié Squats (like ballet): (Not recommended if you’re in a skirt) Point your toes outwards and take a wide stance. Slowly bend your knees in the direction of your toes. Once you can no longer see your toes, slowly stand up.

If you’re feeling particularly motivated, try running in place, pretend jump rope, or shadow boxing.

Even slightly increasing your level of activity will help you feel better and increase your energy level. All it takes is a few minutes a couple times a day to relieve job-related stress, revive your mind, increase your energy level, and ultimately, make you happier and healthier.

If you’ve been thinking about introducing a wellness program at your company this is a great place to start. We’ve recently had several employees participate in a daily push-up challenge with their co-workers. Not only do these exercises build strength and improve your health, they also build relationships when paired with an office buddy.

Contact us today to learn more about wellness programs, and how they can not only benefit your employees but your bottom line.

Photo Credit: Forbes – 10 Best Exercises to Do at Your Desk

Thanks to Jennifer Hodges, UNE Doctor of Pharmacy student, who wrote this blog post!