Under Desk Exercise: Get Fit While You Work
Stuck in the Office? Try Under-Desk Exercise
When I started spending long hours at my desk, I started noticing a corresponding increase in my waist line. And when I started working from home, it only got worse, since my morning "commute" no longer even included the short walk from the parking garage to my office and back again. I've recently been trying to add fitness back into my regime with under-desk cardio machines and some simple exercises. Since I'm still stuck at a desk most of the day, I've been trying to get out more during lunch and try under-desk exercise while I'm pounding the keyboard. Here are some tips and tools I've been discovering.
(Update: I've given up under-desk exercise in favor of my new FitDesk exercise desk/bike. See below for more information!)
(Image: TrekDesk available on amazon. See link below.)
Mini Exercise Bikes - Pedaling is a great under-desk exercise
If you want an aerobic exercise you can do at work, under-desk bicycles are great. They slide right under your desk, so they don't take up any extra room. I love these contraptions because pedaling is a great under-desk exercise to do while you're on the phone or on the computer.
Under Desk Exercises
Stretches and exercises that don't require any equipment
These are some simple at-desk and under-desk exercises I found online. They're quick, easy to do, don't require any equipment and will help you sneak a little exercise into your day even when you can't get away from your desk. You'll find more at WebMD, which also offers this good advice:
"Don't let fear of embarrassment keep you from exercising at work. Chances are, your co-workers will admire your efforts rather than be amused."
Easy Desk Exercises
- Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight in front of you, hold for two seconds, and then lower your foot until it's just above the floor and hold for several seconds. Repeat 15 times on each leg.
- Place both hands on your chair arms and slowly lift your bottom off the chair. Lower yourself back down but stop short of the seat. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat 15 times.
- Sit up straight and try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold and then relax.
- Hold the seat of your chair and extend your legs straight out in front of you until they are parallel to the floor. Flex and point your toes five times. Release, and then repeat.
(Image of stretching poster provided by amazon)
Under Desk Mini Elliptical Trainer - Mini elliptical fits right under your desk
If you prefer elliptical machines to bikes, you might prefer this under-desk elliptical trainer.
From Amazon: Forget the gym. Now you can enjoy a full cardio workout in the comfort of your home or office with this compact elliptical trainer from Stamina Products. Unlike full-size ellipticals, this trainer doesn't have arms or a front console. Instead, the trainer is essentially foot pedals only, with a chassis that's small enough to store under a desk or in a closet. Despite the small size, the trainer still packs a workout wallop, letting you burn a similar number of calories as jogging but without the risk of injury to the back, knees, hips, or ankles. Just keep your feet moving on the pedals--which continually oscillate in a low-impact manner--and you're set. Other details include sturdy steel construction, non-slip pedals, and an electronic fitness monitor that tracks the number of strides per minute, total number of strides, exercise time, and calories burned.
Compact Under Desk Stepping Machine - Stamina InStride Electronic Stepper
They also make mini steppers to fit right under your desk at work or at home.
From Amazon: Limited in space but still want a great cardiovascular workout? Look no further than the Stamina InStride electronic stepper, which offers a footprint of only 12 inches wide by 16 inches long. As a result, you can use your InStride stepper just about anywhere--in front of the TV, while on the phone, in your sunroom, outside on the patio, or even at work. The InStride stepper is even small enough to toss into a workout bag and take on vacation. The stepper is equipped with two hydraulic cylinders that create a stepping motion similar to those of commercial stair steppers. As you step, you work your calves, thighs, buttocks, and core while boosting your cardio, helping you burn calories and fat. The InStride's battery-operated multifunction fitness monitor, meanwhile, times each workout and counts the number of steps, so you can stay motivated and on track to reach your fitness goals.
FitDesk - Desk exercise bike won't fit UNDER your desk because it IS a desk
The FitDesk exercise bike doesn't exactly belong on this page because it doesn't fit under your desk - it IS a desk. But I'm adding it here because I think it will appeal to many people who want to exercise while working. This is what I now use while working at home. Whenever I'm on Facebook, checking email or writing articles, online, I'm on my FitDesk. And I've lost 30 pounds without dieting!
It's great for work-at-home moms (or dads), Facebook addicts, or anyone who spends a lot of time on the computer and has room in their home or office for a lightweight, portable exercise desk. It's a great way to get fit while getting the job done. I absolutely love mine!
Description: Imagine surfing the web, checking your email, keeping up with friends on social networks, beating the next level on your favorite game, or finishing that big deadline, all while losing weight and improving your cardiovascular health. Now you can converge health and productivity with FitDesk. This unique patent pending design provides comfortable placement of your forearms on a padded and contoured desk surface for stable handsfree use of keyboards and game controllers. Supports your upper body for extremely comfortable use. Like no other exercise product available you will find your self "lost" in your favorite wired era pastime while your heart rate is increased for longer, and more consistent daily exercise. Not only will your entire body benefit from this movement but you will be amazed at how much more you can get done by staying connected and organized with the increased time found. While health and productivity are important enough we did not stop there. We used the highest quality parts and designs available to insure years of quiet, smooth and highly adjustable performance. You will find the resistance level will have plenty to "grow" into. Please try our product and see how easy it is to find time to improve your daily exercise regimen, stay organized and connected, and so much more.
Fitness 9 to 5: Easy Exercises for the Working Week - A book with suggestions for keeping fit at work
If you can't get away from the office and need more than a few stretches to get back in shape, this book details plenty of exercises and stretches you can do at your desk and in the office.
From Amazon: The latest trend in fitness for the overworked and underexercised? The office cubicle, of course! Fitness 9 to 5 is the perfect antidote to long hours hunched over a desk and missed dates with the gym. This handy book features 75 quick and easy exercises that can be performed discreetly while sitting at a desk, standing at a file cabinet, and even on the morning commute. Coffee Pot Curls in the kitchenette build up biceps, while Stairwell Bun Blasters are sure to improve the bottom line. And stress-busters for tired eyes and wrists keep computer fatigue at bay. A calorie count is provided for each exercise, so it's easy to see how simple changes can shed pounds. With charming illustrations and step-by-step instructions, Fitness 9 to 5 is the best defense against the office candy jar.
Exercise Ball Chairs - Just sitting on these balls can provide some exercise
Sitting in a chair isn't exercise, but if you sit on an exercise ball instead, you'll be using some of your muscles just while sitting. Exercise ball chairs promote flexibility, coordination and tension release.
This balance ball chair can help you keep fit at work
Adjustable custom fit chair is perfect for long days at work
Working On the Ball: A Simple Guide to Office Fitness - This book can give you more information about exercise ball chairs
If you're planning to get a balance ball chair, this book can help you learn how to get the most from it. The authors give you tips on using "active sitting" techniques to improve your health while working.
From Amazon: People today are spending more time at work and less time being active, whether by sitting in front of a computer all day or in a car battling grueling traffic-or both! Working on the Ball solves this problem by providing an innovative, playful approach to fitness, no gym shoes or expensive club membership required.
Authors Jane Clapp and Sarah Robichaud, both fitness professionals, don't take themselves-or readers-too seriously. They offer a fun, reasonable routine that any office worker can follow from day one.
Hour by hour, the authors take readers through a full day of 'active sitting,' using a stability ball as a chair, and provide guidance for making healthy choices in the workplace.
Also included are photographs to help illustrate each exercise and plenty of encouragement, motivation, and coaching. The authors even offer tips on after-work stress management and other health subjects.
TrekDesk - Walk while you work
If you want to put some really BIG exercise equipment under your desk - like a full-size treadmill - you might need a new desk. TrekDesk is the answer. This desktop attaches to almost any treadmill and will give you a new way to work out while you work.
The desktop measures 72 x 34 inches and includes a manuscript holder, file folder, and two cup holders. It adjusts to fit any user between 5'4" and 6'4" tall and can hold up to 55 pounds of equipment.
This innovative desktop fits almost any treadmill so you can walk while you work.
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