Over the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of changes in the way people live and work. Yet regardless of whether you now work from home or still have to commute, you’re likely just as busy as ever. Being busy also means that you might not have enough time for habits you used to have or always wanted to have—habits like working out at the gym or any other kind of fitness routine. But even if you don’t have the time or resources to go to a gym, there are a wide variety of exercises you can do from your desk at work or from the comfort of your home office.
For people who have big families or demanding desk jobs, exercise can seem like an extravagance or a hobby that you just don’t have the time for. The truth is, though, that getting enough physical activity is a crucial part of maintaining long term health. Countless studies have shown that exercise is associated with a range of health benefits:
The internet and social media are loaded with recommendations for what kind of exercise you should be doing and how often you should be doing it. It can all be a little overwhelming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, each week adults need a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity and two sessions of activity dedicated to strength training. That may seem like a lot, but it can be spread out across the week and still be effective.
Moderate-intensity physical activity can mean almost any kind of aerobic (also referred to as cardio) exercise that increases the heart rate and gets you breathing harder. One way to know if the exercise is intense enough is if you can still talk but couldn’t sing the words to a song. Examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, jumping jacks, riding a bike on level ground, or pushing a lawnmower. If it feels too daunting at first, you can always start slow and build up to longer sessions and greater intensity over time.
Aerobic activity is certainly important, but we also need to do exercises that strengthen our major muscle groups: arms, legs, back, chest, shoulders, and hips. A general rule is that you should do any given muscle-strengthening activity until you can’t do another repetition without assistance. Working a muscle to fatigue like this is how muscle fibers are broken down and then are rebuilt stronger. These kinds of activities are usually associated with going to a gym, but there are also many ways to build strength even while sitting at your desk.
Unless you have a standing desk with a treadmill, cardio activities will probably be harder to do at your desk (though not impossible). That’s why anyone with a sedentary job should get up from their office chair regularly and move around, even if you plan to get your 150 minutes in during the week. But there are still a number of strengthening and stretching exercises you can do at your desk that can help in your overall goal of building muscle. Below are some examples of desk exercises:
For all the exercises above, you only need a chair and a few feet of space. With these and other exercises, you can increase intensity over time with more reps or more sets. But there are many other exercises that you can add to your repertoire if you purchase a couple of dumbbells or some resistance bands. Especially when you’re first starting out, the most important thing is to pick exercises that work for your space and that you don’t mind doing. Start small and work your way toward higher intensity.
Exercise, whether you’re doing it at your desk or at a gym, is important for overall health and wellbeing, but it isn’t an effective method for losing weight. If you’ve tried to lose weight this way before and failed, you’re not alone. That’s why at True You Weight Loss we are passionate about offering an alternative way to meet your weight loss goals. If you’d like to learn more about our non-surgical solutions, please contact us today to request a consultation.