I sit at a desk all day long for about 8-10 hours, so I’m very sedentary. I would like to know if there is anything I can do to be more active at work. I found a pedal machine on the Internet (like a mini bike) that you can do at your desk. I was wondering if I did this at my desk if it would help me burn enough calories to lose weight? The machine also has a calorie counter on it.
Research has shown that spending long hours in a sitting position while working can be a health hazard. Sitting at a desk all day can drain your energy levels and make you feel sluggish. There is enough evidence to show that sitting in an office for long hours is a health risk and may lead to weight gain, circulatory problems and back issues. It’s important to undertake some form of activity during work hours to counteract these negative effects.
Cardio exercise helps to burn calories and makes your heart more effective by improving its pumping efficiency. Cardio exercise in the office is helpful in that it decreases the risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure and assists in weight management.
To counteract the effect of sitting, you can use an exercise ball instead of a chair. Occasional bouncing helps your body interact with gravity. An exercise ball enables you to do cardiovascular exercise while still working. This engages your core muscles and improves balance and flexibility versus sitting on a stationary chair. You can also use a straight-backed chair without armrests instead of soft armrest chairs. A straight chair forces you to sit up straight which strengthens your lower back.
Rather than sitting, you can use a standing workstation. A standing workstation allows you to build up strength in your legs during the course of the day. Make slight changes to your workstation to allow for room to stand and reach for objects such as stationary, rather than having everything at arms reach. Ideally, a person should stand regularly, at least once every 10 to 15 minutes. Regular standing creates movement that creates more energy demands which enables the cardiovascular system to supply muscles with oxygen. Desks can also be used to target your triceps by doing dips to help tighten up your arms.
Try walking in the office rather than sending an email. You can communicate with a colleague by taking a short walk across the building rather than just clicking a mouse. When doing exercises in the office what matters most is just moving your body. If you have a private office, you can pump your fist in the air or punch back and forth for 2-3 minute intervals. Just try to do anything that gets your heart pumping which helps maintain your overall fitness and helps to lower your blood pressure. By increasing the speed and intensity of the movement, this will increase your heart rate which leads to better blood flow and more calories burned.
In regards to your question about the pedal machine, it is a great piece of exercise equipment you can place under your desk while you’re working on the computer. Shoot for two 30 minute workouts each day, one in the morning and another one in the afternoon. You should be able to burn 100-200 calories per 60 minute workout and maybe even more if you can adjust the resistance. This highly portable machine can help increase blood flow and burn extra calories. It’s simple to use, you just pop the mini cycle on the floor and start peddling to help strengthen your legs and lower body. A mini cycle can also be placed on a tabletop and operated with your hands for toning up your arms, chest and shoulders. Any exercise or movement you can do while sedentary is great for getting the blood flowing and burning extra calories. You can also just start tapping or shaking your foot as you sit at your desk which will help burn some extra calories too!
Stretching while at work is also very important. Try to make sure and stretch for 5-10 minutes every few hours. You can stretch your neck by tilting your head slowly back and forth and from side to side. Your arms, thighs, calves and back should be regularly stretched to help straighten your muscles and alleviate pain from sitting in a stationary position for a long time.
Although cardio exercise is important, the biggest thing you want to be aware of when you’re at the office is your diet! Try your best to avoid grabbing a piece of cake or a handful of cookies in the office lunch room. Instead of eating junk food like candy and chips, choose fresh carrots and hummus or a delicious protein bar for a quick and healthy snack!