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Fitness tips: How to exercise at your desk

March 27, 2014 - Fitness

76038325Thought you couldn’t fit exercise into your working day? Our fitness experts show you how.

Somewhere between dropping the kids off at school, juggling meetings at work, cooking dinner and doing the washing, you might not have found time in your day for exercise. Not having enough time is one of the main reasons we skip our weekly quota of exercise, but it is possible to fit it in around your lifestyle.

Making exercise a part of your daily life will not just aid your weight loss, it will make you feel better, and it could help improve your concentration. With the majority of us now holding office jobs, our experts recommend the best ways to exercise without even leaving your desk.

‘Exercise doesn’t have to be long to be effective, so even 10 minutes of intervals can produce fantastic results,’ says Kelly Du Buisson, creator of The City Workout.

Laurel Alper, Fitness and Exercise Consultant agrees, ‘anything is better than nothing and although you cannot incorporate the 30 minutes of recommended aerobic exercise five times a week sitting at a desk, you can certainly squeeze in some beneficial strength and flexibility moves, plus work your core muscles,’ she says. ‘A mere 60 seconds of raising your heart rate will do you good.’

Exercises to try out
Fitting a few moments of stretching and increased heart rate into your day will not only do good things for your body, it will help focus your mind. Try these exercises recommended by Laurel:

  1. Stand up from your desk without using your hands for support then sit back down without actually making contact with the chair. Try to build up to 12 repetitions.
  2. Stand up with knees slightly soft. Place your hands on your bum and kick your heels up to hit your hands. Do this for one minute to increase your heart rate.
  3. Sitting in your chair lift and hold your right leg for three seconds. Be sure to keep your left leg firmly on the floor. Bend your right leg and return to the start position without letting your foot touch the floor. Repeat this 12 times and then do the same for the other leg.
  4. Work the back of your arms by placing both hands on the chair arms. Slowly lift your bum off the chair ensuring your elbows are facing the wall behind you, return to the start position but without actually making contact with the chair. Try to repeat this 12 times.
  5. Stand facing a wall, take two steps back then place your hands about shoulder width apart on the wall. Bend and straighten your arms, without locking out your elbows, to do a push up against the wall. Repeat the movement 12 times.
  6. If you’ve got a tight, sore back then try sitting in your chair and, with your tummy muscles engaged, reaching up towards the ceiling. Hold this position for three seconds, then release.

Be mindful
If you work somewhere more formal where you don’t feel comfortable doing these exercises you can still exercise by being mindful of what you’re doing during your day. Kelly recommends raising your heart rate on the office stairs. ‘At lunch time, run up and down the office stairs for 20 seconds and rest for 10. Repeat this eight times. That’s four minutes of high intensity training, which burns masses of calories,’ she says.

‘Use the stairs at train stations and walk or park further away from the station to help increase cardiovascular fitness on your commute,’ suggests Laurel. ‘It is advised that you incorporate 10,000 steps into your daily routine, that’s about five miles. It takes the average person around 2,000 steps to walk a mile. Try increasing your steps by 500 each week until you reach 10,000. Use a pedometer to keep track of your progress. Just making small changes like this can make a huge difference.’