Updated: Jun 19, 2021
Let’s face it. This working-from-home arrangement means that there is no need for people to walk to and from the bus or mrt station to commute to and from work, no need to walk to and from lunch, no need to walk basically except around their house. And coupled with the fact that people are sitting at their desk all day as working hours increases? It is bad. Really bad. It is a recipe for ruin. Sitting all day increases our risk for obesity and puts us at risk for back pain, poor posture, leg cramps, tense muscles and sheer boredom. In fact, it is recommended that people walk 10,000 steps a day!
Did you know that walking 10,000 steps would torch just about 300-500 calories, depending on the intensity of your walk? To lose about 0.5kg a week, you’ll need to have a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories a week, ideally from both exercise and diet.
So here are some simple and easy exercises you can do whilst working from home:
Simple and easy desk exercises
#1: Chair dips
Chair dips aim to help strengthen shoulder (deltoids and rotator cuffs), chest, and tricep muscles.
Make sure you have a chair without wheels, and that will stay firmly in place. Move to the very edge of your seat and place your hands behind you on the seat, and your legs straight forward. Use your arms and shoulders to move your body up and down.
The three different levels suggested were five to 10 reps, 10 to 20, or 15 to 30.
For those who want to challenge themselves even more, go down slowly, counting to five (eccentric muscle contraction) and go back up fast (concentric contraction).
Do this exercise three to five times a day for best results, either in succession or throughout the day.
#2: Chair push ups
This exercise also helps strengthen shoulder (deltoids and rotator cuffs), chest, and tricep muscles.
Use your chair without wheels to do a push-up by placing hands on the seat and while your body parallel to the floor. Move up and down using your arms and keeping your body straight.
The rep levels are the same: five to 10, 10 to 20, or 15 to 30.
For an extra challenge for fitter readers, go down slowly, counting to five (eccentric muscle contraction), and go back up fast (concentric contraction).
Again, do this exercise three to five times a day for best results, either continuously or spaced throughout the day.
#3: Magic carpet ride
The “Magic Carpet Ride” works your core and arms.
Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat. Then place your hands on the armrests, suck in your gut and raise yourself a few inches above the seat, using your belly, muscles and hands. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat five times.
#4: Seated shoulder exercises
This exercise will help build upper-body strength.
In each hand, grab pencils, bottles of water, or anything that has the equivalence of 0.5kg to 1kg weights. Then lift your arms on each side, fully extended and parallel to the floor, with the back of your hands facing the ceiling. Now you are going to do little circles with your hands until it really burns, then you switch to small up and downs motion until you really can’t hold it anymore. This is plyometric contraction.
Try this for 30 seconds, one minute, or 90 seconds.
It is recommended that you try to do this exercise three to five times a day for best results, either consecutively or throughout the day.
#5: Chair position
This exercise works your thigh and leg muscles.
The workout is just like sitting in your chair, if the chair were taken away. Move your chair away from your desk and place your hands on your desk or table to steady yourself.
Try to maintain a sitting position. Ideally, your thighs should be parallel with the floor.
You can try it for 10, 30, or 60 seconds depending on your fitness level and desired workout.
For best results, complete this exercise three to five times a day, either in succession or whenever you feel like you need a mental break.
#6: Desk squats
This exercise tones your thigh and leg muscles.
This exercise is similar to the holding chair position, but involves moving up and down.
Move your chair away from your desk, and squat into the sitting position from a standing position, continuously moving up and down.
You can do either 10, 25, or 60 squats based on your level of fitness, but aim to work towards the highest level!
This exercises is also recommended to be done three to five times a day, again either in succession or whenever you feel like you need a mental break from work.
#7: Wooden leg
For lower-body strength, try the “Wooden Leg.”
Sit in your chair. Extend one leg out straight in front of you. Hold for two seconds. Then raise it up as high as you can, and hold it again for two seconds. Repeat with each leg 15 times.
Stretch out your muscles
Personal trainer, Rob Croonborg of suburban Chicago’s Functional Formations said, “When you’re sitting at a desk for a long period of time, your muscle tissue, especially in your hamstrings, begins to shorten. They pull on your lower back. Your lower back starts to tighten and that pulls on your upper back, then your neck. It’s one big chain that tightens as you continue to sit,”
So here are some exercises that will help you stretch your neck, shoulder, back and hamstring muscles.
Stand up and walk around
In addition to working muscles that might tighten and shorten while sitting for long hours, it is encouraged to stand and, if possible, move around for 10 to 15 minutes of every hour.
“Get outside and walk, if you can,” says Croonborg. “Fresh air and a different atmosphere helps your mental attitude. You can even do the stretches while outside.”
Alternatively, switch between a sitting desk and standing desk – it is not good to sit at your desk all day long! Your standing desk should be about the height of your elbows.
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