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Get Up and Move: Exercises for Desk-Bound Workers

12 May. 2022

At a time when many of us spend the majority of our days sitting at a desk, maintaining good exercise habits can seem like an impossible task. But by incorporating simple exercises into your workday, you can boost your productivity, improve your health, and keep your focus and motivation levels high.

Whether you have a standing desk or are stuck sitting for hours on end, there are plenty of simple exercises you can do throughout the day to stay active and engaged. These include stretches that target your back, neck, and shoulders, as well as more vigorous exercise routines like squats or lunges that can be done in a small space without any equipment.

In addition to the physical benefits, regular exercise can also help to boost your mood, increase your overall productivity, and improve your concentration. So if you're looking for ways to stay fit and focused in a busy work environment, why not try incorporating some exercise into your day? Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Here are 15 health tips and exercises which can help desk-bound workers stay active and feel good:

#1 Stretch out your back, neck and shoulders

Some simple head rolls, gentle upper body twists and cactus-ing your arms will help relieve tension in your back, neck and shoulders. These stretches are particularly good for countering the hunched posture that working at a computer encourages.

#2 Hourly walk around

Every hour or so, get up and take a short stroll. Even a walk that lasts just a few minutes and is directed towards the kettle will help to stretch out your legs and relieve pressure points that will have clammed up from prolonged sitting.

#3 Confined-space cardio

Cardio exercises don’t always require a large open space and can be easily squeezed into your working day. There are dozens of variations of simple cardio and strength exercises to inspire your mini midday workout, from squats and lunges to jumps and planks.

#4 Desk-based strength training

Use resistance bands or small handheld weights to fit in some strength training at your desk.

#5 Take the stairs

Simply taking the stairs is a great way to stay active without putting in much effort and is a great way of loosening off tight muscles from sitting too much.

#6 Take a stand

Standing regularly helps to relieve pressure points, activate your leg muscles and boost your energy. Standing desks are a great way to transition simply between sitting and standing while working. The budget-concerned can opt for a manual standing desk and also benefit from the added exercise required to raise and lower the desk. The tech-minded might invest in an automatic standing desk with built-in timer reminders to rotate between the sit and stand functions.

FlexiSpot’s standing desk EW8

#7 Plan your 30 active minutes per day

Having an exercise goal in mind - and a plan of how you are going to meet this every day - can provide huge motivation to get moving. Ensure you are active for at least 30 minutes every day by planning when, where and how you will be active.

#8 Activity tracking

Track your daily exercise with an app or smartwatch. Knowing how active you have been each day will help to inform your daily 30 active minutes plan and can be great for motivational purposes. You might also discover that you get in a lot of steps even on days when you don’t deliberately exercise.

#9 Take an exercise class

Taking an exercise class is a great way to change up your exercise routine and feel the motivational benefits of working out with others. Squeeze a class into your lunch break or go after work.

#10 Go for a brisk walk or jog during your lunch break

Maximise your lunch break by getting some fresh air, increasing your steps and getting your heart pumping with a brisk walk or jog.

#11 Download an exercise or mindfulness app

Given that many of us spend a lot of time on our phones, having an exercise or mindfulness app could be a great way to turn your screen time into a healthy habit. Set up phone reminders to help you meet your exercise goals.

#12 Exercise on your commute

Cycling to work instead of driving can be a good way of increasing your activity levels. You will also benefit from the fresh air, avoid the traffic and save some money. Even using public transport, like trains or buses, can help you to exercise a little more on your commute as you have to walk to the station or bus stop.

#13 Invest in a treadmill or desk bike

Treadmills or desk bikes can be great for getting your body moving while you work. The movement might also help to clear your mind and leave you feeling fresh and inspired.

FlexiSpot’s Cycle Desk Bike V9 Pro

#15 Find exercise buddies

When your motivation to be active dips, find supportive exercise buddies to motivate you. Join a sports team or exercise group at work or in your community. Find exercise buddies or friends at work and exercise together.

Remember that a healthy lifestyle can be achieved even when your work life is extremely busy. Aim to fit in 30 active minutes every day, whether that is a high-intensity exercise class or a simple lunch break walk. And don’t forget to devote time and energy to your mental health too!

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