Switching from a traditional desk to a standing desk can be a great, healthy decision. However, standing will only burn 8 more calories an hour over sitting. Furthermore, moving is better than merely standing for a plethora of reasons.
First, it is important to look at the ways that exercising can help your overall health. Then you can choose the simple exercises that work best for you.
Moving for Health
Standing desks can have beneficial effects, but the real benefit comes from movement. Using a standing desk makes it much easier to move around, leave your desk for quick breaks, and stretch. This is a much better way to combat the negative effects of sitting.
Exercise can help you burn calories and lose and manage your weight. Additionally, every little bit of exercise can help reduce the risk of death. Exercise can help you avoid premature death by reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, hypertension, bone and joint diseases such as osteoporosis, and other chronic illnesses. It can also help you improve your mental health.
Experts recommend that we exercise at moderate-intensity for 150 to 300 minutes every week (or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity). In addition, we should participate in muscle strengthening exercises.
Not all of us have the time to exercise that much and if we do, that doesn’t mean we want to work out after a long hard day of work. The solution is to get exercise while you are working by doing the following exercises.
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Exercises for a Standing Desk
There are tons of exercises that you can do while you are at your desk. In fact, there are enough that you can work out your whole body while you are working on your computer.
For maximum benefit, it is best to combine multiple exercises that work different parts of your body throughout the day or week. Always try to add in stretches to keep your body limber and flexible.
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Rise up onto your tippy-toes slowly so that it uses your calf muscles. You can do as many reps as you need, but typically 15 to 20 is sufficient. You can also do one leg at a time or hold when you are on your toes for more of a challenge and a better workout.
Raise your leg by bending your knee and bring your foot back towards your bottom. You should feel it stretch. Do 10 to 20 reps for each side. You can hold the position to make it more difficult.
This is a great exercise for your core and back as well as your legs. Extend one leg straight back behind you. Then switch to the other leg. Do 10 to 15 reps per leg. You can also do a form of leg extensions while you are seated at your desk. First, get into position with both feet flat on the floor. Extend one leg straight out and hold for 3 seconds. Do 10 to 15 reps for each leg.
Bend and Extend
Start with your legs at shoulder width apart. Now, bend your knees slightly so that your quads tighten. Lift one foot up and extend the toe forward. Hold this position for three seconds then swivel it over to the side. Then slowly move it to the back before slowly returning it to the floor. Repeat this for 4 to 10 reps per leg.
Keep feet shoulder width apart. Slowly bend your knees and be sure to extend your bottom back. The knees should always stay behind your toes. Pause momentarily and then raise back to standing position. Do this 10 to 15 times for maximum benefits. To increase the intensity, you can perform the squats on one leg at a time.
Bend down keeping your knees straight and reach toward your toes. You may not be able to reach your toes, but you should feel it in the back of your legs and possibly your back muscles as well.
This is a great way to work out your heart that doesn’t take much time (however, you may not be able to continue working during the exercise). Do at least 15 jumping jacks at a time. You can make it harder by jumping higher in the air during each jumping jack.
Take a full water bottle into each hand. Keep your arms flat against the sides of your body. Roll your shoulders forward 20 times, then roll them backwards 20 times. You can also do this with your arms extended straight out to the side.
Hold a full water bottle or other slightly heavy object in each hand. Place your arms to your sides with your palms facing forward. Lift the item by bending your elbow. Make sure to keep the rest of your arm steady. Slowly lower your arm back to your side. Then do the same thing with your other arm. Do 10 to 20 times per arm.
Grab a water bottle or other small object in both hands and raise it above your head. Slowly lower it behind your head and then raise it. Do this 10 to 20 times.
Walk in Place
This one is self explanatory, but the faster you can walk (while being able to work of course), the better it will be for your heart and the more calories it will burn. You can also focus on lifting your knees higher to make it more difficult.
Put your hands behind your back and clasp them together. Straight your arms and slowly lift them while slightly leaning your shoulders down. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat one or two more times.
Pull your knee up towards your chest with your arms and hold for 6 seconds. Repeat with your other leg. It is best to stretch each leg 4 to 6 times to strengthen the muscles and increase flexibility.
This is another great exercise for your triceps. Sit on the edge of your chair and grab the chair with your arms slightly behind you. Lower yourself and raise back up slowly. Repeat this 8 to 12 times.
This is a great way to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, especially since most of us use our hands for small tasks, like typing, all day while we are at work. Place both hands on your desk face down with your fingers pointing towards you (so backwards compared to normal). To increase the difficulty, slightly lean forward. Hold this position until you feel a release in the tension.
This is an exercise you can do while sitting. Sit up straight and cross your arms. Tighten your ab muscles and curl your chest down towards your hips. Hold this position before slowly returning to a normal seated position. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
So you may be able to do traditional pushups, but you can actually do them while using your standing desk as well. Place your hands on the edge of your desk and walk your feet back until you are leaning forward. Lower your chest slowly then push up. Repeat 12 to 18 times or until you feel the muscles in your arms and chest. You can also choose to do these against a wall.
Keep your feet at shoulder width apart. Move one leg forward and bend the knees so you end up in a kneeling position. Then raise back into standing position. Then, switch your legs when you do it again.
Do this 5 to 10 times per leg. You can also do side lunges. Start with a wide stance and shift your core to one side and down. Hold this position and then move back into standing position. Repeat for the other side of your body. Do this 10 to 15 times.
Hop on both feet barely letting your toes leave the floor. This is a great way to boost your leg strength while also getting a little cardio in. You can also hold one leg off the ground and jump with a single foot at a time to make it more difficult. Jump for 15 to 30 seconds at a time.
Final Thoughts on Standing Desk Exercises
Exercising while you are at your standing desk can help you avoid a harmful sedentary lifestyle. These desk exercises do not take long and are easy to do. You can also buy cheap neoprene dumbbells to work out your body even more. The benefits of exercising while using a standing desk can do wonders for your overall health.