How Much You Need to Exercise If You Sit at a Desk All Day from How Much You Need to Exercise If You Sit at a Desk All Day
How Much You Need to Exercise If You Sit at a Desk All Day
Watching every season of your favorite show may sound like the perfect Friday night for some, but you’re putting your health at risk after just a couple of episodes. You are literally sitting yourself to death. Sitting more than 11 hours a day increases risk of premature death by 40 percent. Sitting is not really the new smoking, McLean Shane McLean, certified personal trainer at Balance Guy Training, says. “This is obviously a bit of an exaggeration, but sitting will definitely not help you stay healthy in the long run.”
What is your goal?
If your goal is to maintain your general overall health, an hour of working out may be enough, according to studies. However, an hour of physical activity a day will not help you if you’re sitting all day and weight loss is your goal, Shane McLean, certified personal trainer at Balance Guy Training, says. “You can’t exercise for a bit and think you’re good.” Just like you can’t sit down and do nothing if you exercise on regular basis. “This will undo some of the hard work you’ve been doing.” You have to stand up during the day and move as much as you can, McLean adds.
Get up every hour
The body burns most calories while at rest, but in order to make it do so it’s important to stand up and walk as much as you can throughout the day, McLean says. Don’t give your metabolism a chance to slow down. “Get up every hour to move around and do some stretches.” It’s important to get that blood going through the body, he adds. You need to stretch your muscles in order to avoid injury next time you train or to simply prevent soreness.
Keep it simple
“Keep it as uncomplicated as possible,” McLean says. If the rules are simple to follow, then it’s much easier to do something on regular basis without thinking much about it and make it a habit, he adds. Taking the stairs is common. You can do a lot of moves while sitting in a chair, which will help increase blood flow. Next flexions, bicep curls, leg raises, and shoulder squeezes are some of them. Also, if you can, move your trash can and printer or anything else you use throughout the day away from your desk. This way you have to get up each time you use them.
Stretches at the office
Try using bars alongside the toilet in the handicapped stalls for stretching. There is no excuse for avoiding them while at the office. They take practically no time and feel so good. The simplest example is flexed-elbow shoulder circles – it increases shoulder joint mobility and keeps your upper-body blood flowing. Do stretches that are good for your posture as they can help by strengthening key muscles, while stretching and aligning your body at the same time. Hamstring stretches are also helpful.
This is a good exercise you can easily do at the office, McLean says. You can perform it against your desk or a chair. The higher the surface you’re leaning on, the easier it will be to perform a push-up, so keep your fitness level in mind when choosing. Do these pushups for about 30 seconds every time you get up.
Ask any trainer what they believe are some of the best exercises for the whole body ever invented and squats are going to be on the list. McLean recommends them as well. They are easy to do because you don’t need much space or equipment. The exercise targets the leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Many people however don’t push their hips back far enough during a squat; having the chair behind you helps to correct this mistake.
Seated calf raises
This move directly targets the calves. Standing with feet shoulder-width apart (and using the back of your chair for support, if needed), slowly lift up onto your toes. Pause for a beat before slowly lowering your heels back towards the floor, without letting them touch down completely. Perform this sequence for one minute.
The best alternatives for upright rows are lateral raises with dumbbells. Use water bottles instead; they will do. This exercise still involves shoulder abduction as in upright rows; however, it eliminates internal rotation of the shoulder to reduce the risk of injury. The move allows you to work all the smaller muscles of the shoulder.
Go to the gym 2-3 times a week at least
If you get up for five minutes every hour or so to move around and stretch, this is 40 minutes a day of physical activity, McLean says. It adds up, and, at the end of the day, you won’t need to exercise for too long or too intensely to make up for sitting during the day. In addition, “doing anywhere between 20-30 minutes twice or three times a week at the gym” will be helpful, McLean adds.
Intense exercises are not required
Your workout routine before work or at the office doesn’t have to be intense, McLean says. “You’re wearing work clothes after all; you don’t want to be sweating.” Any moves are good moves as long as you get your body going, and hence, blood moving. Better circulation can only be beneficial to your overall health as it brings oxygen and important nutrients to all body cells.
Work out in supersets
If you had an hour to spend at the gym, working out in superset is very effective, McLean says. Always start with a warm up to get the body moving, he adds. Do one set of full body exercises such as pushups, burpees or squats. Divide the set into leg and upper body moves. Then do another set with isolation exercises like triceps or leg extensions. Then you can target the shoulders. Rest for a minute between exercises. “Do full body exercises if you’re pressed for time,” McLean adds.
Meet on the move
Ask to take your meetings out of the conference room and go for a walk. This is especially helpful for brainstorming sessions or just catching up on progress. Use non-private phone calls as an excuse to walk around the office. Take the conversations outside or pace around in the conference room if your colleagues are distracted. Any moves – no matter how short and insignificant may seem – are a catalyst for being more active later. Even short calls will get you up and moving for a few minutes and this will break up the day.
Work standing up
Employers are becoming more conscious of the effects of sitting and are offering standing desks. Inquire at your job to see if you can get one and transition to an hour a time and work up to standing for your full workday. The next best option is to ask for a stability ball on which to sit. It engages your core as have to maintain stability. You also move your legs as you bounce off the ball.