Fitness is work

Exercises you can do while you are at work

Just a few minutes a day can make a difference. Courtesy photo

Exercises you can do while you are at work.

Get up off your feet ! … and move ‘til you feel better!

Do you sit at a desk for 8 hours of your work day? Sadly, 70% of Americans do and they hate it. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.2 million deaths can be attributed to lack of physical activity. And unfortunately these sedentary lifestyles increase our risk of bone and muscle loss, heart disease, and diabetes. Even if you are active on a daily, you are still possibly at risk of not getting enough activity to counteract your sedentary self of being at a desk for 8 hours at a time.

If you think about your daily routine, there is a lot of booty action, doing a whole lot of nothing. For most, you commute to work, sitting; work for 8 hours, sitting; commute home, sitting; then get home and spend more time, sitting, in front of the tv. Oh, and somewhere between that 10-14 hours of sitting you may have a 1-hour workout to try to help counteract the body from being sedentary. Then, guess what, at the end of a long work day, you’re back in bed for 7-8 hours to do it all over again. Let’s face it, as much as we want to be active and not think we are on our bums longer than we actually are. We are literally killing ourselves, putting our bodies at risk for obesity, poor posture, diabetes, heart disease, the list goes on and on.

The point is there are numerous ways to try to add some more activity to your day and quite frankly with just this little extra movement, you can reverse inevitable weight gain, or even save your life. Let’s start with simple stretches at your desk. Just do the stretches that feel good or right to you. And remember to hold for :30 on each side. You can start with your arms and work your way down the body. Take your right arm and place it across the chest (towards left), while at the same time bending your left arm around it. Now let’s move on to your wrists, (this will feel good, you’ll thank me). This is featured in my video attached, but if you stand up and put your palms flat on your desk (arms straight), and then start to flip them, (palms up then down, flexion and extension), alternating left and right wrists. This stretch feels amazing for people that sit in front of a computer and type all day.

After your arm stretches, move down the body, neck rolls, wrist stretching, shoulder shrugs, leg stretches, finally leading to standing up. Standing you can stretch the legs and then you can reach for the stars, or reach to each side of your wingspan, opening the chest. You can also stretch while sitting at the desk, prop one leg on the desk and reach for the toes, hold for :30, as you will see in the video below. While you are back to sitting, try some seated torso twists. This is demonstrated in the video as well. In the video I take you through these static stretches and some other exercises.

Now, that you have you’re warmed up and stretched out. Here are a few exercises to follow, to help keep the blood and juices flowing at work. (see video attached for reference)

  1. Seated Leg extensions: Sit in your chair, (knees bent), extend right leg completely straight and hold for :5 seconds. Then alternate legs. Continue to switch until you finish 10 on each leg. That is 1 set, repeat 2 more sets.
  2. Desk assisted push-ups: Stand 1 foot in front of your desk, lean forward so you are at an angle, and do a push on the edge of the desk. For the ladies that are self-conscious about their shoulders, try keeping your elbows in. This now focuses on the Tri-ceps. Do this 10 reps/ 3X
  3. Tri-cep Dips: Stand up and turn around to where your back is facing the desk. Position your hands shoulder width apart, placing your hands on the desk. Be sure to move the booty out front with legs extended. Bend at the elbows and voila! 10 reps/ repeat 3X
  4. Calf Raises:  Stand. For support you can use the back of your chair. Facing your desk, raise into the tip toes, hold for a brief second, then release. Repeat 10 times, and complete with 3 rounds.
  5. Wall Sits: Easy Peasy. Go to a wall (with your back against the wall), sit and pretend there is an invisible chair underneath you, into a seated position. Hold the position for about :30 each time.  Repeat 10 X.
  6. Standing lunges: Same lunge as always. Standing, take one leg back (bending) and lowering to the knee. Alternate legs. Repeat this 10X on each leg, 3 rounds
  7. Kick Backs: This exercise is demonstrated in the video. Standup, use your chair as a crutch. Kick back the right leg as high as you can with the knee cap facing the floor. Alternate legs. 10X on each leg, 3 rounds.
  8. Shoulder Press: Grab a couple binders or anything with a couple pounds of weight. Hold it flat at shoulder level and raise the item straight into the air (overhead) and back down again. Do this 10 X, 3 rounds.
  9. Squats: So easy, you can do these in the air or in your chair. Stand-up, sit back down, repeat 15 times. Or squat and hover over your chair, 15 times. Repeat this for 3 rounds.

Tappy, tap, tap: Here is an exercise anyone can do. Sit at your desk, for the foot tap drill. This means tapping each foot on the balls of the feet, and alternating right to left. Continue for :30 seconds and bam! Repeat 10X.

Now those exercises weren’t so bad, were they? Try to add them to your everyday routine, so that this becomes a lifestyle. Then…outside of your desk you can burn a few more calories by:

  1. Taking the stairs- No matter what floor you are on, you can always take the stairs.

  2. Take a walk break- Smoke breaks are old; walk breaks are in.. and the new thing

  3. Park further- Even if you are in a parking garage, give it a walk or 2

  4. Set your watch- For all the 2018 technology watch people; you can set timers for during the day as a reminder to “stand-up”, or “walk around”, or take a “mental break”

  5. DIY (do it yourself)- Instead of asking an intern or assistant for something…take over!

Want to take it one step further? Here are some items you can order to kick your booty in gear and take it to the next level. It’s December, add this to your Christmas list!

Bosu Ball- Keep it simple. There are tons of versions of these. You can either get a real bosu ball and sit on this. Or you can get the fancy one, where the bottom half is actually made into a chair, and top is half of a bosu. Either way, they are amazing to stretch on and even bounce around from time to time to keep your body active and moving!

Stand up desk – You can find many variations for the stand-up desk. This desk helps you get up off your feet! And not stuck in a chair for hours. You can find these just about anywhere online, Amazon.

Ergohead standing desk mat- not a flat anti-fatigue mat for stand-up desks; You can find this on Amazon. This is great for those that have stand up desks.

Desk Bike- MY FAV!  I have one, and it is awesome! However, amongst all the distractions, you do have to remember to pedal. 😊 Order online off the Vari-Desk website, or wherever when googling desk bike.

Portable Elliptical – It’s like an elliptical from the gym, except it’s mini and portable. Fit this under your desk to work your little legs without even knowing it!

 

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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and blogger. Check out her new blog, HTown Run Tourist. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @HTownRunTourist. Facebook @jovanabernathy. Join her facebook group: H-Town Run Tourist

Six years ago, I got this great idea to become a tourist of Houston on foot. I had no idea what I was doing or where it was going. All I knew was to put on my running shoes, walk out the door, and just go. Go learn, go talk, go ask without judgements. What I found is that Houston was full of diversity. We all knew that. However, let yourself be immersed in it. Look and listen to the sounds of different languages being spoken around you. Smell the scents of the different cuisines. You would think you were in a foreign country. This made me more curious.

As I explored the emotion of curiosity, it led me to change my behavior. Where I might have rushed to this place and to the next, I took it slower. Where, usually, I would have just assumed that I already knew, I found myself asking more questions. When I asked more questions, I had to acknowledge that I did not already know, so I practiced listening. As I listened more, I felt compelled to show more appreciation to the person who interrupted their busy day to educate me. This made me feel grateful.

I took that gratitude and wanted to share with others. It blew my mind when people would say that they hated Houston. It was boring. The people are mean and it was ugly. And even more shocking was Houston is not walkable. Instead of getting offended, I decided to do my part in brightening up the day of the Houstonians who were stuck in a rut. Who saw and did the same things day after day. I didn't judge because I knew they could get out of that rut by simply deciding that today they do something different. I braced myself for rejection, but put myself out there to share the wonderful things that I had learned about Houston. Given the chance, the vast majority, was ready to learn a different way. This made me proud.

It is true that 2020 has been full of disasters. These are opportunities if we choose to see them that way. If anything that COVID-19 taught me the answer was not MORE, but it is LESS. We have the tendency to take on too much, we had the unique opportunity to take on less. Thus, instead of going to exhaustion, we had the opportunity to rest.

Then, the tragedy of the death of Houston's own George Floyd happened. It could not have happened at a worse time. My heart goes out to his family. Some might use it as an opportunity to work out their own frustrations by causing more problems with violence and looting. My hope is that whatever happens will be an expression of appropriate sadness, but with Houston's best attributes; curiosity, gratitude, and pride. Instead of LESS it is time for MORE. MORE curiosity. To see if Houston's law enforcement cares about the well-being of Houston's black community and make changes in protocols. MORE gratitude. For the opportunity to express the frustration in a peaceful way. MORE pride. To not destroy this city and give it over to violence possibly doing more damage to the economics of business owners. We can see this as the opportunity to take time to heal.

Houston has changed. As I restart my exploration, I'm not looking for LESS. I'm looking for MORE this time. I'm looking with MORE curiosity. Because I know that we have even MORE to show each other. I'm looking with MORE gratitude because we have endured so much already and there are better times ahead. And, I'm looking with MORE pride because just as we did it before, we still have it in us to do it again. I have one request: if you see me in the streets, promise me that you will say hello.

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