Stuck working in an office with no time to hit the gym on a regular basis, or is the cold weather keeping you confined to your desk? There are ways to burn off a few calories during office hours, says Selen Razon, a physical education professor at Ball State.
“Studies have shown that long periods of inactivity – including sitting at your desk – increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer,” she says. “I suggest that people do a few simple exercises to get their bodies moving and then stretching and toning at your desk. Moving a little goes a long way.”
1. Start exercising before arriving at your desk by first parking your car as far away from the building as possible and then walking. Take the stairs whenever possible.
2. Do exercises at your desk, including flexing arms, legs and abs on 30-second intervals. Get rid of a chair and sit on a medicine/fitness ball while working. Sitting on a ball will tone and strengthen your abs.
3. Stand up and/or take short walks every 20 minutes at desk. Studies show even simple frequent standing breaks significantly decrease your chances of getting diabetes.
4. Exchange the typical desk for one that allows you to stand, which burns more calories.
5. Bring gadgets to the office. Hand grippers and stretch cords are relatively cheap and can provide great outlets for keeping active while you look at your screen.
Razon says incorporating these exercises in your daily work routine could help keep off the pounds. Nearly 27.5 percent of the American adult population and 31 percent of the adult population of Indiana reports being obese, ranking the state eighth worst nationally in terms of percentage of population severely overweight, says The Burden of Adult Obesity in Indiana.
There are many examples of how companies have added adjustable desks to the workplace. For instance, The Farbman Group, a Southfield Mich.,-based real estate company, began introducing adjustable standing desks in its company headquarters last year. The desks are part of the company’s Health & Wellness Committee. Founded in 2013, the group of Farbman employees works to help integrate healthy options into the workplace.
There also are a variety of adjustable desks on the market. Prices range from the IKEA Bekant Sit/Stand Desk, which starts at around $500, to the high end Stir Kinetic Desk, which has USB ports, WiFi and Bluetooth as well as a tracking device that reminds users when to sit and when to stand for best health practices.
Herman-Miller recently introduced its Renew Sit-to-Stand table. A comfortable paddle-shaped switch raises or lowers the desktop to a range of adjustments. The desk, starting around $1,200, also manages and hides cord chaos with an easily accessible system. The power to raise or lower the table uses less power than a cell phone charger left plugged into the wall, according to their website.