Let’s Get Moving But at Your Desk

If you are sitting down to read this article, you need to stop right now! Well don’t stop reading, but you might want to stand up to finish it. Exercising is something that people expect you to do, but what if your routine is jam packed already. Between work, kids or just keeping a social life, it’s hard to find time to get in any type of exercise. 

As most of us are still working from home, the easiest way to fit in movement can be right at your desk! It can be between meetings or on your lunch break. Either use some weights (canned goods water bottles or wine bottles), booty bands or your body weight to get a total body workout in a matter of minutes. Adding some passive movement like buying an under the desk elliptical or using a ball as a desk chair can add movement even if you can't leave your desk. I know what you're thinking, as it may not be a sweaty workout, but I promise it all adds up! 
As work has shifted to home life during COVID, it seems like we are doing more work and sitting longer than ever before. I know this is true for me and I'm still trying to find that work life balance. The ultimate goal is to get active even while you sit for 9 hours. In this blog, you’ll find exercises that you can do right at your desk and it will leave you feeling your best throughout the day.

So, Why Do We Need Movement?
Well, our bodies just want some movement, as it keeps us flexible and our muscles loose; however, chances are you're spending more time sitting than moving. Don’t feel alone, as I’ll get hyper focused on work and forget to even stand up for hours on end. Maybe you’re spending hours scrolling through Facebook, Tik Tok or Instagram without even realizing it. On average, Americans spend about 9.5 hours a day sitting! Compare that to the average of 7.5 hours of sleep, that means we are doing a lot of sitting throughout the day.

With technology easier to access than ever before, that means less movement and more sitting. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.2 million deaths come from lack of physical activity. Our sedentary lifestyles are responsible for multiple health complications and diseases. But more concerning, those who already exercise daily may not even be getting enough movement to offset the effects of sitting too much!

Now, What Can We Do About This?
The best times to exercise during your day is whenever you can fit it in! We all have very unique schedules. Maybe you’re a morning person or trying to fit movement in between meetings. If you have a busy day try to choose some simple exercises below or my favorite, just block off 5 minutes every hour to add 2 exercises right at your desk. It’s the best of both worlds as you have a chance to get movement in without having to wake up early or stay up late. Even better, let's get a virtual office workout date on the calendar. Workouts are always better with friends!

But before we get to movement most people are sitting wrong (myself included), so let's fix that! I do this often and I make a conscious note everyday to pay attention. There are countless ways you can sneak more activity into your day from desk exercises to stretches. But one of the best ways to eliminate back pain and a sore neck is to make sure you’re sitting properly. Let’s be honest, for all the sitting we do, we aren’t very good at it. We do a lot of slouching and hunching over. Our heads are very heavy, and the further forward we lean as opposed to being in line with our spine, the heavier they become.

Have You Checked Your Posture?
The first thing you can do right now is to check your desk height. This can make a huge difference for neck and back pain. Ideally your feet should be flat on the floor, as your knees, plus hips are in a 90 degree angle. Now, I’m a short person, so I keep a box on the floor to elevate my feet and keep them flat and in that 90 degree angle. Keep your lower back pressed against the chair (as we tend to slump throughout the day). This will help to maintain good posture. Also, it's extremely important to keep you head from tilting too far forward, as this puts strain on your neck.  A good trick is to have your monitor above eye level. 

Let’s Add Exercises Right at Your Desk

Squats: Anyone can do their version of a squat and no  equipment is needed! There are so many squats to choose from but a traditional squat has your feet shoulder width apart and go down like you are sitting in a chair. Do not let your knees go past those toes though. 
Wall Sit: This is a great move, as it works the entire body. Stand with your back pressed against the wall. That back never leaves the wall as you slowly lower into a seated position. Hold for however long you can and I promise it’s a burner!

Side Leg Lifts: Make this move your own, as I love adding weights or booty bands for extra resistance. Make sure to stand up straight, while keeping that core tight and all you do is lift that leg to the side. Can go as slow or fast as you want too but the slower you go you can really feel the burn. 

Biceps Curl: This is when those weights come in handy or maybe some canned goods or water bottles. There are tons of variation to the bicep curl but it starts with your palm up holding that weight. Again you can either go slow or fast but make sure your arms are locked into those sides, as you don't want to swing those arms. Make it a bit harder by balancing on one leg but just remember to switch those legs.

Desk Push-up: Push-ups are wonder movements and I know it may seem strange to do it on your desk but it works that entire body! This helps build strength in your back and arms. 

Lunge: Either keep this stationary and do alternating lunges at your desk, or do walking lunges.  Think of this movement, as you're about to get down on a knee but your knee doesn't touch the ground but rather creates a 90 degree angle. Remember to keep that back straight up and don't round it forward. 

Jump Rope But With No Rope: Hop on one foot, both feet or alternate as this can be done anyway. Go fast or slow as you control the intensity. Make it real by adding the jump rope arm movements.

Walk, Jog or Run in Place: Do this for 60 seconds about 3 to 5 times. This one is as simple as it sounds. Stand up from your chair and get to it. Anyone can do this one, as you are in control of the intensity. If you want an even bigger challenge then bring your knees up to waist level.

Keep it Going
Adding little changes here and there can go a long way in keeping you healthy and happy. Try to get up from your desk every hour or so to keep that blood pumping. If you can't remember just set an alarm or use your watch. Are you still sitting now!? 

If you’re looking for more variety in movement try streaming workouts at home. As most gyms aren’t fully open yet, there are some great apps and virtual workouts to help get that heart rate up. Find workouts that you enjoy to stay motivated and create joy.

What are your favorite movements or workouts!?

Note: Before adding any physical activity into your day please talk with a medical professional or your personal physician! These are just suggestions to get moving as you know your body best.

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