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  • Writer's pictureLaura Cowan

"Deskercise: The Art of Exercising at Work!"

What is deskercise? “Deskercise” (desk exercises), are for the cubicle-bound, like me.

I’ve noticed that over the years the American workweek has gotten longer and longer.

A week that is between 32 and 40 hours is generally accepted as full time, but more and more often, people are putting in somewhere between 45 and 55 hours of work; maybe even more.

We are made to move, not sit at a desk 12 hours a day. As ergonomic as your desk or chair may be, sitting produces back pains, headaches, and listlessness. You become less productive. Heaven forbid if it rains, my knees ache all day long. You know who you are: You are the woman who's so stiff when she gets up from her desk that she walks like a robot for the first few steps.

So what’s a worker chained to his or her desk to do? Luckily short bouts of aerobics, strength exercises, and stretching in between conference calls can help improve fitness levels and heart health. While these deskercises, or desk exercises for the cubicle-bound, won’t promise Olympic mile times or six-pack abs, they might just improve strength and burn a few extra calories to boot. So whether it’s PowerPoint, Photoshop, or emails on that to-do list, I have some exercises for a healthier (and happier!) workday. If you're a beginner, try the low-impact version, but at least try.

Here we go:

  • Do 15 glute squeezes – Sitting straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, contract your glutes and hold for 2-3 seconds so that you rise up a bit in your chair before relaxing muscles. Ahhh, didn’t that feel good? J

  • Do 15arm circles in each direction – Extend arms and make small clockwise circles with your fingertips. Switch directions to repeat circles counterclockwise. If you here a cracking noise, it’s just your body waking up. J

  • Do 15 abdominal contractions – Sit in your chair with a straight back and pull your belly button in towards your spine. Hold for 5 seconds for each repetition.

  • Do 15 Squats – This is an easy way to bump up your calorie burn and tone glutes and thighs in an office workout when you are limited on space. So don’t go and buy that butt lifter thing. J

  • Do 15 wall push ups – To tone your chest with an office exercise routine, do pushups against the wall (you can do regular pushups if you’re not in a dress and/or have enough space). While doing this, think of a happy place, like happy hour. J

  • Do15 toe raises – A great move for cubicle routines, these allow you to tone the calves without breaking a sweat and with minimal room.

So how was that for a start? Fit movement into your day whenever you can. Here’s another tip for getting in exercise on the job; you are legally supposed to have a number of 15 minute breaks per day (the number depends on how long your working day is). Take those 15-minute breaks and walk around the block or building. Each 15-minute round of brisk walking will burn about 100 calories. Walk for both of the 2 breaks associated with a full 8-hour day and you will have walked roughly 2 miles and burned an extra 200 calories by the end of the day.

In addition to mini office workouts, take the stairs whenever possible. Park your car further away from the building to get in an extra few steps. (Do that even when you shop at the mall). Get up and away from your computer often to take short walks or stretch. None of these are novel ideas; everyone has heard them before…it’s just that very few people employ these tactics. Let’s go ladies, and make 2016 a year to be fit.

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