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With the advent of offices and desk jobs came an increase in sitting. While sitting itself is not inherently bad, sitting for long periods of time every day is often associated with an overall sedentary life. This can put a person at risk for a variety of health issues and contribute to an overall reduced quality of life.
Many people who work at desks all day have switched to standing desks, allowing them to alternate between sitting and standing and prevent some of the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Additionally, a standing workstation makes it easy to get in some quick desk exercise activities to break up the monotony, relieve tension, and get some blood flowing. Take a look at some easy standing desk exercises you can incorporate into your workday below to boost your energy at work and increase productivity.
Your calf muscles are mainly activated when you perform any sort of ambulatory movement, like walking, running, or jumping, but they can also help to stabilize your body and support the mechanics of your entire lower body.
Standing leg extensions work your quads and core, both of which stabilize your body. If you are having trouble balancing with this exercise, hold onto a chair, desk, or wall for added support. You can also do these leg extensions sitting down.
Squats are a dynamic exercise that works out your quads and core as well as your glutes and hips. Most people have weak glutes as a result of extended sitting. Strong glutes provide support for your lower body and help you stay comfortable in both sitting and standing positions.
Reverse lunges offer a combination of both reverse lunges and squats to work out stabilizing muscles like the quads, core, hamstrings, and glutes.
While standing does involve the lower body, don’t neglect your arms and upper body. Working on your shoulders, back, and neck can help to ease some tension and strengthen the muscles associated with good posture.
Bicep curls offer an easy arm exercise when you’re reading something on your screen.
Along with the strength exercises, make sure you include some stretches to loosen up your joints and keep your muscles from tightening up.Standing Calf Stretch
Move to a wall or a (stable) leg of your desk. Keep your heel on the ground and place your toes and the balls of your feet against the wall. Lean your body into the wall to feel a deep stretch in your calf muscles. Hold for up to 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.Standing Chest Stretch
Interlock your fingers behind your back. Straighten your arms out and pull them up behind you. Keep your shoulders down and squeeze your shoulder blades together. You should feel your chest stretch and open up. For added stretch, bend forward at the hips and tuck in your chin as you bring your arms up. Hold for up to 30 seconds and repeat as necessary. This is particularly good for days when you’ve been hunched over your computer and have back pain from sitting at a desk.Lower Back Extension
With your feet shoulder-width apart, place your hands on your lower back, fingers pointed downward. Slowly bend backward from the hips, going as far as you can. Exhale for three seconds and avoid bending at the knees. Hold and slowly return to your starting position. Repeat as necessary.Hamstring Stretch
Stand with your left leg crossed over your right leg. Bending at the waist, reach your arms down to the ground. Keep both knees relatively straight. Don’t strain to touch your toes or the ground. You just want to feel the stretch in your hamstring. Hold for up to 30 seconds before slowly bringing yourself back up. Switch to your other leg and repeat.
While your standing desk isn’t a replacement for a gym or a jog around the park, you can still keep up your health with some easy exercises. Keep in mind that standing desks are best used when alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day. Even if you don’t do the above exercises, make sure you do take a break every half hour to stretch or walk. It’ll help your body and your mind.