Stuck at your desk all day? Wondering where you’ll find the time or motivation to exercise? No matter how good the intentions, work is often a culprit for not getting enough movement in the day.
Studies show that being desk bound for long periods of time can be linked to various health concerns, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels as well as increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It may be difficult to comprehend the connection with sitting and your wellness, but research has shown that they are very significant to our longevity, and can do as much harm as smoking! An analysis of various studies on sitting time and activity levels concluded that the effects of being sedentary at a desk for more than eight hours a day without physical activity were comparable to the fatality rate of smoking and obesity.
Before you start to panic, research has also shown that these effects can be counteracted with 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day, so it’s more important than ever to make time for your gym routine.
Our World Gym ambassador, Mathia Matakovic knows how work can sap the energy to train at the gym, but he inspires us to work for our dreams, and most importantly, our health.
“Working in a job like mine, my motivation can be taken away in a hard days work. However, I have so much passion about my fitness and my own goals I will never let work take away from my dreams. In order to make dreams work, you have to.”
At World Gym, we want you to strive and thrive no matter where you are and understand that you can’t always make it to the gym, especially if you work long hours. To help you reach your health and fitness goals, our National Head Coach of World Gym Athletics, Dylan Twiner has some great advice for how to move during the workday.
Dylan has run seminars for companies to help educate employees about the detrimental effects of sitting at a desk and doing just three (or more) of his tips each day can help to reduce the effects of sitting down and counteract the dreaded ‘computer slump’ posture.
If you are working at an office or a desk, here are Dylan’s top tips for subtle exercises you can do anytime, anywhere:
- Leg marches or extensions – This might be an interesting way to take a bathroom break or to fetch your 3pm coffee, try marching or doing some walking lunges along the way.
- Calf raises – Or toe raises underneath your desk can help to build muscles and improve circulation.
- Banded leg pulses – This one is great if you are working from home and have a resistance band lying around.
- Butt squeezes & hold – If you’re in the office and can’t step away to do a set of squats, then try subtle butt squeezes to ensure those glutes are firing!
To increase incidental exercise at work, Dylan recommends:
- Use your legs instead of your computer – If you are working in the office try walking to someone’s desk to discuss things, instead of sending an email.
- Lunch break lifters – If you can take a full hour for lunch, why not head to your closest World Gym for a cheeky lunchtime gym session? Or if there isn’t a gym nearby or you have limited time, make sure you get out for a walk or run for some fresh air. It will help boost your energy for the afternoon.
- Swap your chair out for a yoga ball – This will help to increase stability through your midline and improve your posture.
- Use a standing desk – Studies show that standing instead of sitting for 6 hours a day uses an additional 54 calories per day.
If you are stuck at a desk most of the time, Dylan recommends these 3 stretches to help improve posture and mobility:
- Foam rolling – Especially for the mid and upper back to counteract the hunching over all day.
- Couch stretch – This is a difficult one to explain without a visual, but google has lots of ‘how to’ videos you can use to relieve tight hips with this stretch.
- Pec stretch against pole – This will feel SO great for your upper body!
Dylan also recommends:
- Take responsibility – Set reminders on your phone every 15mins to remind you to sit up tall and take 3 deep breaths
- Release plantar fascia – Roll the bottom of your feet while at your desk with a trigger point therapy ball (or a lacrosse ball works well)
- Tone up – Do some short intervals of bracing and releasing your abs while you’re sitting to help support your lower back.
Dylan has seen a significant increase in productivity and energy from his clients once they start a regular exercise routine. Especially those who work longer hours, Dylan says that they feel more energetic, enjoy better sleep, are happier at work and they also make better food choices, which adds to their overall wellness, energy and vitality.
Don’t let your workplace harm your health, get motivated and get moving today!