Is physical exercise good for you? Of course, it is! We hear this everywhere- parents, friends, doctors, scientists, articles, TV, social media, etc. We don’t have to try and convince anyone of the benefits of physical activity. It’s all about a healthier lifestyle, the endorphins that allow us to feel better in our own skin, the perfect stress release, living a longer and healthier life.
And we see all the trends proving that people do take it seriously. Gyms have flourished on every corner and they’re busy, too. Employers encouraging their staff to take up a corporate gym membership at a reduced rate, the ‘cycle to work’ scheme to help employees pay for a bike, city councils investing in the much-needed cycle tracks to allow safety for the cyclists. We even see some (possibly slightly crazy) people going for runs and short gym sessions during heir lunch breaks.
And interestingly, we seem to be taking this more and more seriously. So, those choosing cycling, will invest in a good bike and the professional gear- helmet, gloves, shoes etc. Those choosing the gym, will usually seek personal trainers’ help in one way or another- of course, not everyone can afford a regular 1 on 1 session with a PT, but there are plenty of tutorials on social media on how to lift weights- heavy and safe. People choosing different forms of activity usually go big- joining clubs, investing in gear and trying to better themselves with each next workout. This could be anything- football, squash, dancing, yoga, boxing, martial arts. There are so many phone aps and step trackers that help with monitoring the progress and psychologically help with the consistency of our activities- it is hard to choose one.
But what if you want to keep things simple? Not everyone has the need to invest all their time and money into being a semi-professional athlete. And that’s OK, too. There are other, simple ways of staying active and reasonably fit. Like going for a walk. That’s exercise too.
And in some extreme cases, for those who work very long hours, a little break at work for a 1-minute activity- is all they can spare. So, we decided to explore desk exercises this month. And before you panic- we’re not trying to install a treadmill under anyone’s desk. But we will encourage you to do a little activity, just to try.
Below you will find a few exercises that will take no longer than checking a text message or looking out of the window between emails. They’re simple, don’t require any equipment and will not get you sweaty in the middle of your working day.
- Seated leg lifts: while seated, extend one leg straight and hold for a few seconds, then lower it. Alternate between legs for a gentle leg-toning exercise.
- Desk push-ups: stand a few feet away from your desk, place your hands on the edge, and perform push-ups at an incline. This targets your upper body and core.
- Chair squats: stand up from your chair without using your hands, engaging your leg muscles. Sit back down and repeat for a simple lower body workout.
- Desk chair plank: rest your forearms on your desk while in a plank position. Hold for as long as comfortable to engage your core muscles.
- Seated torso twist: sit up straight, hold the edge of your chair, and twist your torso to one side, then the other. This helps with spinal mobility. You can also hold onto the desk and twist from left to right for some core work.
- Ankle rotations: lift one leg off the ground and rotate your ankle in clockwise and counterclockwise motions. Switch to the other leg.
- Desk dips: use your desk’s edge to perform tricep dips. Lower yourself down and push back up to strengthen your arm muscles.
- Calf raises: while seated, raise your heels off the ground, then lower them. Repeat to work on calf muscles.
- Shoulder shrugs: elevate your shoulders towards your ears, hold briefly, and then relax. This exercise relieves tension in your neck and shoulders.
- Seated march: sit tall and march in place, lifting your knees towards your chest. This boosts circulation and engages your core.
- Bonus exercise: contract your glute muscles and hold for a few seconds. Release. And repeat. This is known as a butt clench.
Want to make it more fun? Try to incorporate the exercises into your working day without any of your colleagues realising- a discreet workout and an excellent way to practise the art of multitasking.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts.