Get fit at your desk
Whether you’re a student, a secretary or a CEO, chances are you’re spending the majority of your day at a desk. Spending long hours seated is hard on your posture. The stress of being seated can create tension in your neck and cause headaches, while being hunched over a desk can weaken your muscles, causing imbalances and stiffness. Worst of all, you’ll gain weight from all that sitting.
Don’t fall into the doughy trap of desk life! Here are a few easy ways to get fit from your desk.
The 20-minute rule
Okay, so technically this one isn’t at your desk, but it definitely works. Every 20 minutes or so, get moving! Stand and talk to a coworker, walk to the office pantry, hand deliver a memo to the boss. When our bodies are idle for more than 20 minutes, our metabolism slows and we move into slow-to-no burning our calories. So set a timer on your phone or your computer and get moving!
Bis and tris to get the guys
Toned arms are sexy as hell. Banish batwing arms with easy biceps curls and triceps extensions that can be done while reading an email, or sitting in on a conference call.
Start with a lighter weight, such as this one, as low weight and high reps mean long, lean muscles. For most, that’s about 1-2kg – light enough that you can do at least 50 reps. For biceps curls, simply hold the weight in your hand, palm up, and curl your arm until your hand nearly reaches your shoulder. For triceps extensions, raise both arms above your head and grasp the weight between both hands evenly. Lower the weight behind you until your forearms are at a 90-degree angle with your upper arm. Repeat as many as you can, then do five more.
March yourself marvellous
This is an easy and inconspicuous exercise that gets your legs moving without going anywhere. Simply sit up straight, as though someone has dropped an ice cube down your back, plant your feet about hip-width, and quietly start marching. Be sure to keep your core strong so that you don’t wobble back and forth. Increase the speed of your mini-march if you’re having trouble stabilizing. Works towards slowing your pace and really feeling your thigh muscles burn.
Do the reverse prayer
It may not sound like it, but stretching is key to a fit bod. Taking the time every day to reverse hunching helps encourage muscles in your back and core to strengthen in the right direction.
The reverse prayer pose, or pashchima namaskarasana in yogi terms, encourages the chest to open and the shoulders to come together, the complete opposite shape of the desk-hunch. Here’s how:
Sit tall, spine long. Reach behind you and bring your palms together behind your back. Keeping your palms together, rotate your wrists so that your fingers point towards you, and then towards the ceiling. Take five breaths, release. Some sensation in your shoulders is ok, but don’t push through any discomfort or pain.
If reverse prayer is not possible, simply hold your elbows or forearms behind your back. Focus on drawing your shoulder blades down and back, opening the front of your body. Breathe.
Do more for your core
While it may be an unseemly place, you can work your core from the comfort of your office chair. This next exercise is performed seated. Place your hands behind you and hold the seat or bench. Your back should be at a 35-degree angle with your legs straight but resting on the floor in front. Raise your legs off of the floor a few inches, then lower them slowly, tightening your lower abdominal area. Do at least three sets of 25, or more if you can handle it. Remember to keep your back straight and well supported!
This may not be as awesome as a trip to a fancy gym with a super-hot trainer, but it’s a great start and you will be well on your way to keeping fit!