Desk Exercises to Keep Your Heart Healthy While You Work
Christine is a full-time blogger and content creator, who covers topics on health, wellness, and fitness. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been focused on finding ways to make health and wellness a priority from home and hopes her words can encourage others to do the same.
If you are a working professional, you might spend up to 8 hours a day sitting at your desk. That number could be even higher if you’re working from home where you don’t have as many opportunities to stretch your legs. Unfortunately, spending too much time sitting while you work could negatively impact your heart health.
Finding time to exercise for even just a few extra minutes each day will reduce your risk of heart disease and can improve quality of sleep, boost focus and concentration and increase energy levels, all of which are essential for maintaining a healthy work-life.
Luckily, there are plenty of simple exercises to improve your heart health that you can do right from your desk. Read on to discover eight heart-healthy desk exercises that will help you feel your best.
Taking time to stretch can improve your musculoskeletal and heart health. It is important to stretch before and after exercise to promote recovery, but you can also try these stretches while sitting at your desk to ease stiffness and improve your body’s range of motion.
1. Neck Stretch
Sitting for long periods with poor posture can cause tension and neck pain. To relieve stiffness and improve the range of motion in your neck, simply sit in your desk chair with your back straight, and turn your head to the side until you’re looking over your shoulder. Hold for 10-30 seconds, then switch to the other side. If your chair has a supportive backrest, you can lean against it to keep your shoulders from moving while you do this stretch.
Reps: 6-8 on each side, then repeat
2. Torso Twist
You can also do this stretch while sitting in your desk chair. Simply face forward, place your hands against the back of your head with your elbows facing out to the sides and rotate to the side. Hold the position for 10-39 seconds, and be sure to only twist at the waist while keeping your hips and head in place. This stretch will activate your core muscles and can help relieve lower back pain.
Reps: 6-8 on each side, then repeat
Resistance training involves any exercise that uses weights or your body weight to contract and build muscles. When combined with aerobic exercise, even low-intensity resistance training can lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. If you don’t have time to hit the gym, try out some of these resistance exercises you can do from your desk.
3. Desk Dips
Desk dips are great for working your tricep and core muscles. You’ll want a stable desk or table for this one, so make sure your desk won’t slide around before you start. T do this exercise, place your palms flat on the desk or table and plant your feet in front of you on the floor. Your knees should be slightly bent. Then, lower yourself down until your elbows are bent back at a 90-degree angle and lift yourself back up.
Reps: 20 dips
4. Leg Raises
Leg raises work out your hamstrings, glutes, and hamstrings, and you don’t even have to leave your chair to do them. Simply straighten your legs and hold them parallel to the floor with your back straight and hold for 10 seconds.
Reps: 15 leg raises for 10 seconds each
As more employees work from home there’s been a lot of focus on creating an environment that’s healthy for both your mental and physical well-being.
5. Chair Squats
Chair squats target your leg and core muscles but are easier to do than regular squats. When you need a break from sitting, simply pull your chair out, stand a few feet away from it and lower your body down until you are about to touch the chair. Be sure to keep your weight on your heels, and don’t actually let yourself sit between each squat.
Reps: Two sets of 10 squats
6. Desk Push-Ups
Like dest dips, this exercise requires a sturdy desk or table that can hold your body weight.
You don’t need a desk or chair for this exercise, and you can do it anywhere in the house or office. To start, stand with your feet slightly apart and step forward with one leg, bending your knee until it is at a 90-degree angle. Then, return to a standing position and repeat.
Reps: 5-15 lunges with each leg
Aerobic exercises are designed to increase your breathing and heart rate. They typically involve activities that require a lot of movement, like running, cycling, or walking, but there are some you can do indoors. A few minutes of aerobic exercise each day can improve your heart health by increasing circulation and lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.
8. Jumping Jacks
Taking a break from work to do jumping jacks is a quick way to get your blood pumping on busy days. Before you start, find a space with room to move around and stand with your feet together. Then, raise your arms above your head and jump at the same time, landing with your feet out to the sides. Quickly jump back to your starting position and repeat.
Reps: 30 jumping jacks
Having a successful work-life doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your physical health. For more information on improving your heart health from home, see the infographic below.