Editorial / Health & Wellbeing

Staying Active: Simple Exercises to Do at Your Desk

Let’s face it, staying active is crucial for our overall health, but it’s often easier said than done, right? Especially for us busy bees with demanding jobs that glue us to our desks all day. We all know the drill – exercise is good for us, it keeps our bodies fit, our minds sharp, and our spirits high.

Yet, despite our best intentions, squeezing in a workout between meetings, deadlines, and, well, life, can feel like an impossible task. But what if we told you that you don’t need to hit the gym to stay active? That’s right, you can actually get moving without even leaving your desk! Curious? Stick around, because we’re about to dive into some simple exercises that you can do right at your desk, no gym gear required.

The importance of physical activity

Okay, let’s do a quick recap on why physical activity is so important. First and foremost, regular exercise is like a magic potion for our bodies and minds. It boosts our mood, increases our energy levels, improves our sleep, and reduces our risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Not to mention, it helps us manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Basically, exercise is a lifesaver, literally.

On the flip side, leading a sedentary lifestyle (aka sitting all day) is a big no-no. Prolonged sitting has been linked to a host of health issues, including weight gain, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Yikes!

To add to that, many health organisations, including the World Health Organization, recommend that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. That might sound like a lot, but it actually breaks down to just 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Totally doable, right?

The challenges of staying active

Now, let’s talk about the real deal – the challenges. A busy work schedule can be a real beast when it comes to finding time or motivation to exercise. Early morning meetings, tight deadlines, and never-ending to-do lists often leave us feeling drained and the last thing we want to do is hit the gym, right? Plus, the whole “work from home” situation doesn’t make it any easier. It’s all too tempting to go from the bed to the desk, and then back to bed, with minimal movement in between.

Then, there’s the dreaded prolonged sitting. It’s almost impossible to avoid sitting for long periods when our work demands it. We’ve already talked about the health risks associated with prolonged sitting, and let’s be honest, it doesn’t exactly inspire a burst of energy or creativity either. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Simple desk exercises to stay active

Alright, now for the fun part – desk exercises! These exercises are simple, effective, and can be done without drawing too much attention to yourself (we know, no one wants to be “that person” doing jumping jacks in the office).

  • Chair squats: Stand up from your chair, lower your body back down, stopping right before you sit back down. Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
  • Desk push-ups: Place your hands on the edge of your desk, shoulder-width apart, and push your chair back so your body is at an angle. Lower your chest towards the desk and then push back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
  • Seated leg lifts: Sit up straight in your chair and straighten one or both legs and hold in place for a few seconds. Lower the leg(s) back to the ground without letting the feet touch the floor. Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
  • Chair dips: Hold onto the edge of your chair with your hands and slide your bottom off the edge. Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints. Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
  • Seated bicycle pedals: Sit up straight and place your hands on the edge of your desk. Lift your feet off the ground and begin to pedal your legs as if you are riding a bicycle. Do this for 1-2 minutes.

Remember, the key to success with these exercises is to incorporate them into your workday. Try setting a reminder every hour to do a quick set of exercises. And don’t forget, it’s not about how intense the exercise is, it’s about moving your body regularly throughout the day. Let’s make movement a habit, not a chore!

Final thoughts

So, we’ve talked about why staying active is important, the challenges that busy professionals face, and some simple exercises that can be done right at your desk. Remember, every bit of movement counts, and it’s all about making small, sustainable changes that can have a lasting impact.

Let’s not let a busy schedule be an excuse for not taking care of ourselves. Incorporating these simple desk exercises into your daily routine can be a game-changer. It’s all about creating healthy habits that stick. So, go ahead, give these exercises a try, and make movement a regular part of your day.

Photo by THE 9TH Coworking on Unsplash

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.