Who says you can get fit while sitting in a cubicle, in a coffee shop booth or at home on the sofa? Ok, if have a home office this is an easier task but you can still incorporate these top ten fitness exercises even at a dreaded cubicle. Do these still exist? Anyway just remember it’s good for your mind, body, and soul to step away from your desk on a regular basis. Small steps can lead to noticeable results.
Fitness Take Small Steps For Big Gains
January is gone, and February is here. It’s the month of love. So, I thought it fitting, pun intended, to post on “loving yourself” and getting back to your fitness goals, by eliminating the modern-day malaise of desk sitting.
It distresses me that so many of us in the travel industry, don’t get out from behind our desks, to enjoy what we are marketing; the great outdoors, healthy restaurants, and healthy lifestyles.
Surprise, surprise general managers, executive directors, sales and marketing executives, and public relations professionals spend an inordinate amount of time, sitting behind a desk.
I ran into a certified personal trainer, Stephan Greco, pictured, who I proceeded to grill on the topic of desk sitters. Greco is a practicing attorney and a personal trainer by the American Council On Exercise. His dual career gives him great insight into the world of fitness and sedentary behavior, aka desksitting.
Desk Sitters: Incorporate These New Habits
“Sitting still is one of the worst things we can do to our body — the way we sit and type and hold the phone can wreak havoc on our bones, joints, and muscles. Plus, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of coronary heart disease,” states Greco.
He starts his morning fitness routine in the parking lot. “I like to park as far away from the front door as I can, weather permitting of course. Those extra steps add up,” He also recommends, “Once you get through the door, walk past the elevators and take the stairs. You’ll give your metabolism a boost without getting sweaty.”
Top Ten Fitness Tips: For Desk Sitters
A top ten list of basic deskercises tips from Greco to improve flexibility, maintain good posture and engage the core.
- Standing up and sitting down, without using your hands, can be a challenge. Be careful if your chair has wheels! Repeat this often throughout the day.
- Wall Presses – aka push-ups against a wall. If you are new to this exercise, start with 10 and gradually work up to 25. If you are comfortable with this move, do as many as you like.
- Release shoulder/neck tension. Inhale deeply and shrug your shoulders, lifting them high up to your ears. Hold. Release and drop. Slowly move your head up and down and side to side. Repeat each of these exercises five times.
- Release upper body tension. Sit up tall in your chair or stand. Stretch your arms overhead and interlock your fingers. Turn the palms to the ceiling as you lift your chin up, tilt your head back, and gaze up at the ceiling. Inhale, exhale, release. Bonus stretch: lean slightly to the left or the right. Repeat Five Times.
Core Lower Body
- Torso Twists. Inhale deeply. As you slowly exhale, turn to the right and grab the back of your chair with your right hand, and grab the arm/seat of the chair with your left. Use your grasp on the chair to help twist your torso until you feel a gentle, comfortable stretch. Hold that position and let your eyes continue the stretch — see how far around the room you can peer. Slowly come back to facing forward. Repeat this exercise five times on both sides.
- Side bends to target your oblique muscles. Put one hand on the back of your head and extend the opposite arm out in front of you. Engage your core muscles and bend towards the side with the extended arm in a controlled manner. Squeeze your oblique muscles to pull yourself back up to starting position. Start with ten reps on each side and gradually build up to 25.
- Alternating Elbows to Knees. This exercise is typically performed lying down, but you can incorporate this exercise while sitting in a chair. Sit straight with your hands on the back of your head. Lift your right leg gently as you bring your left elbow across to meet your right knee. Hold the position for a second, then relax your body. Repeat on the other side. Alternate the movements in a continuous motion for a total of 10 reps per side.
- Knees to Chest help to stretch your hamstrings and glutes. Sit-up straight with your left foot firmly on the ground. Grasp the back of your right knee, and slowly pull it toward your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold the position for 15-30 seconds, and then repeat with your left leg. Perform five reps per side.
- Leg Extensions to work the legs and abs. Grab the sides of the seat of your chair to brace yourself. Sit up tall and contract your abs. Extend your legs straight out in front of you, so they are parallel to the floor. Flex and point your toes five times. Release. Repeat ten times.
- Seated Forward Bends stretch the lower and upper back. Start with a slightly widened leg position with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly lean forward without rounding your back, dropping your torso toward your thighs until you feel a comfortable stretch. Relax your neck and lower your hands toward your feet, letting your arms hang loosely between your legs. When you feel a gentle stretch, hold the position for 15-30 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat five times.
Additional Healthy Tips for Desk Sitters
It’s important to get up from your desk for cardiorespiratory activity to keep yourself fresh, and mentally alert throughout the day. Keep a pair of sneakers in the office and take a mid-afternoon walk around the property. Invite a colleague to join you in getting out in the fresh air to shake off the midday-slump.
Why not opt for a walk with employees to a neighborhood market, a fresh food eatery or send a memo that reads; we will not be in the conference room for our meeting tomorrow. Pack a picnic or brown bag lunch as we will be dining in the park!
Another smart tip from Greco, “Talk while you walk — it’s more efficient and productive. You’re getting more oxygen to the brain, you have no distractions, and you’re more likely to remember what is said.”
Motivational Fitness Mantras for Us All!
“You don’t get the butt you want by sitting on it all day.”
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
“Eating well is a form of self-respect.”
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Now get up out of that chair and try some of these fabulous deskercises!