Deskercise: 5 ways to fight the flab at your office desk

Sitting down is the new smoking.

The human body is evolved to move. Our early ancestors had to move to keep up with the demands of the environment, but technology has changed the way we live and move.

We’ve long known of the ills of being idle and how sedentary activity is connected to ailments such as heart disease, obesity, hypertension and even cancer.  But do we really know about what happens to our bodies when we sit around from 9-5 on idle mode?  

On the short term (think a couple of hours or so), sitting all-day slows down NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, the process in which the body burns energy to use for everyday movement. In response to the slowdown of one task, the body boots up the fat storage process, much like a bear bulking up in preparation for hibernation.

So what’s a cubicle rat to do when stuck at a desk all day?

The standard answer would be to get moving, but research has found that just your regular post-work gym sesh may not undo the damage of being a couch (or desk) potato. The better choice would be deskercise, work-friendly exercises that you can do at your desk.

While these won’t give you a beach-ready body just yet, you’ll burn extra calories and boost NEAT to fight off the flab. So get your move on and get set for a way healthier workday with these 5 easy desk-friendly exercises!

Stand up every 20 minutes

The magic number is 20. Studies have shown that standing up to move every 20 minutes can help prevent the physiological changes that come with being sedentary, it reduces the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease while helping you burn more calories.

Remember those warm-up exercises that your Physical Education teachers made you do during PE Classes way back in school? Bust them out while you’re standing and rotate your neck, move your arms and torso. Ensure that you get the full range of motion to get your blood flowing.  

You might get some looks from your colleagues (we do), but hey, at least you’re fighting the flab!

Raise your legs

Source: Deals Plus

Get some strength training in with some under-desk leg raises! Over the long run, leg raises will help you build muscles to ensure that you burn more calories over the course of the day.

How to do:

Hold your legs up parallel to the ground. Tighten your legs and focus on the feeling in your quads (the muscle in front of your thighs). Hold your position and slowly lower your legs back down to the ground. The movement sounds simple but do it on the regular and it adds up to help tone your thighs!

Pro-tip: If you’ve been strength training for a while, you may want to cross your leg over the other to add resistance while doing the leg raises.

Maintain Your Posture

Good posture doesn't just help you look and feel more alert, it helps you burn more calories as well! By sitting up straight, and by that we mean shoulders are back and abs tense, you work different muscles in your back, shoulders and torso.

Source: Greatist

Pro-tip: If your workplace allows, switch out your standard swivel chair for a stability ball to work your core and tone up your midsection.

Work your arms

Get rid of those buffalo wings on your arms with some tricep dips. The magic of the exercise is that it can be done almost anywhere as long as you have a sturdy surface to balance yourself on.  

Source: Vogue

How to do:

Plant your feet down on the floor away from the desk or chair and straighten your arms up to lift the body. Bend your arms to reach a 90-degree angle, dip your body down and lift it while keeping your body raised.

Swivel Chair Ab Work

Swivel chairs are mad fun, they save us from boring meetings by letting us fidget in our seats. Use the chair to help tone up your midsection with some chair-based ab work!

Source: Huffington Post

How to do:

Sit upright and hover your feet over the floor, use your core to swivel the chair from side to side until you feel it in your abdominals.

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