Being a desk jockey is something I know a great deal about. From working to playing, I spend a great deal of time at my desk. This is partly the reason why I am so overweight. However, that doesn’t need to be your excuse – in fact, it’s no longer mine either. It’s time to get more movement throughout the day and exercise our commitment to reduce our land mass.
What Can You Do to Get More Activity?
Improving your activity throughout the day doesn’t mean you have to schedule time at the gym. If you’re life is as busy as mine, it can be difficult to break away to get some iron-pumping time in. What many people don’t realize is that any movement beyond your current average can be beneficial – especially if you change your snacking habits while sitting at the desk.
1} Schedule Regular Breaks
Ever two hours, take a break and walk around. Do something for 10 minutes that keeps you on your feet. Usually, I get up and walk around after an hour or so – primarily because my knees start to hurt after sitting for so long. If you like smoking at your desk, take it outside while walking around your yard. The idea is to keep on your feet and get that heart pumping. The quicker it begins to beat, the more calories you’ll burn. Any steps you take above and beyond your regular routine is beneficial.
This isn’t merely good for burning calories as it can help your joints, muscles, back and even your neck. I’ll go into greater detail at a later date how continuous sitting can be bad for you physically and mentally.
2} Regular Stretching
Yes, stretching for a few minutes can be considered exercise. Getting up periodically and stretching by touching your feet can be beneficial for your lower back and hamstrings. Do a five to 10 minute routine several times throughout your day of stretching various parts of your body. Not only will you feel better, but it will contribute to the amount of physical activity you get while sitting at your desk.
I don’t have a choice since my knees will start to ache if I sit for too long without standing up and stretching them out for a few minutes. This is when I normally walk upstairs to get a cup of coffee.
3} Do Stuff Yourself
When you have children or someone else in the room, it’s easy to ask them to get you coffee or bring you lunch. There’s nothing too important that you can’t get up and get your own goodies. Remember, the goal is to get your body moving as often as humanly possible.
I started focusing on this aspect a couple of years ago. Instead of having my kids run upstairs to get me a cup of coffee, I do it myself. In fact, there is nothing that I ask anyone to do for me. If I forget something, I get back up and go get it. At first, I did this to get more activity – now it’s habit.
4} Desk Chair Workout
If you want to get a bit of weight training in while sitting at your desk, why not lift your chair? Do 20 reps three times at least once per day. It may sound silly, but it actually works fairly well for getting the heart pumping and the muscles working.
I would do curls with my chair periodically. I’d stand up, pick up my chair by the arms and then curl it like I would a barbell. It gets you on your feet and moving while working out the biceps.
5} Walk More Afterward
Once you’re done working or gaming, why not go for a walk around the neighborhood? Take your significant other with you, or even the children. Perhaps you can walk to the corner market for a bottle of flavored water. Do something other than sit on the couch and watch TV. Any activity is better than no activity, and moving around after prolonged sitting will get the blood flowing.
Last year, my wife and I used to walk almost exactly a mile every other night around the nearby convenience store. It’s exercise while having 20 minutes to talk to my wife about anything and everything. Quality and activity – two excellent combinations.
The primary lesson you need to take from this is increasing your activity. Any movements above your regular routine can be considered a success. The more activity, the better. No one is ever “too big to fail.” Set goals for yourself each day and work to surpass them. Just make sure your goals are realistic.