Deskercise is about being a fitness ninja
The first step is realizing how harmful a sit-heavy lifestyle is, especially for your spine. Studies show that even 2.5 hours of vigorous exercise a week does not fully offset the harm done by sitting 70% of every weekday. So let’s be sneaky: add in a bit of strengthening and movement without even standing up by deskercising.
When the thought occurs to you, try running through this deskercise checklist.
Ab squeeze: tighten abdominal muscles, hold 5-10 seconds, release. Repeat 15 times.
Glute squeeze: tighten glutes, hold 5-10 seconds, release. Repeat 15 times.
Shoulder shrug: raise shoulders up to ears, hold 5 seconds, let them down. Repeat 10 times.
Neck resistance: Put head in hands and push against it, using neck muscles to resist. Then put hands on back of head and push, using neck muscles to resist in the opposite direction. Hold each for 5 seconds and repeat up to 5 times.
Leg raises: while seated, straighten legs up in the air, hold 5-10 seconds. Repeat 15 times.
You don’t have to get up from your chair and you don’t even have to stop working. As a chiropractor, I chose to focus on deskercises that target muscle groups in the core, the upper legs and upper back. These are the areas which incur the most stress throughout the work day and will leave you feeling tight. To add some relaxation into the party, practice simultaneous deep breathing to circulate oxygen through all your cells.
Deskercise is about changing attitude.
It’s not the be-all, end-all and it should certainly not serve as your sole work out routine. However, it trains your brain and body to appreciate the benefits of a little muscle stimulation during a day of heavy stagnation. This should set you on a trajectory toward moving more and relieving your body from the ill-effects of a sit heavy lifestyle.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.
Breathing is an important tool in moments when you feel overwhelmed.
When you are stressed, your breathing becomes more shallow: the kind of quick, panicked breath that sees your chest expanding. With this kind of breathing, you are not getting nearly enough oxygen to nourish the cells in your body and brain, and stress escalates quickly. The solution is to first realize this is happening in the moment- you are overwhelmed and you need to regain control. A signal way to do this is to make a conscious effort to slow down your racing brain by breathing slower.
Breathing slower helps you achieve:
A reduction in blood pressure
A healthier circulation of oxygenated blood to the cells of the body and brain
Less tension in muscles
These qualities translate to you feeling:
Clearer in mind
Less pain in the body
Step up the relaxation one more notch with balanced breathing
A deep, diaphragmatic breath is one that contracts the diaphragm, draws air in through the nose and fills the lungs to the very bottom, where the blood is circulating; this kind of breath is characterized by the abdomen expanding rather than the chest. In moments of stress, take a minute to focus on breathing.
- Close your eyes to block out extra stimuli
- Breathe in for four seconds and out for four seconds evenly
- Link your breaths together in one fluid cycle
The rhythm does wonders, as does the influx of oxygen rushing to cells in need. At Community Chiropractic & Acupuncture, we believe that breathing is a powerful way to influence relaxation. At our office in Park Slope, we encourage a lifestyle that keeps stress at bay through chiropractic adjustment, attention to chronically tense muscles and the use of acupuncture to heal pain and fight anxiety.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.
What could be easier than body weight training?
There is no money to be spent, no gym membership or dumbbell set, no need to go anywhere; your only investements are the pounds you already possess and a bit of time out of your day. Chances are you already know the basics of each exercise (a push up for example) and with a bit of planning, you could turn these basic exercises into a full body workout.
Body weight training is efficient
Body weight training is efficient at helping maintain a healthy weight. When combined with light aerobic activity, (i.e. the jumping jack, or a lung jump followed by a jog back), body weight training is one of the most efficeint ways to burn calories.
Some other advantages of body weight training include:
Increasing relative strength
Boosting reactive strength
Encouraging better circulation
Strengthening the core to help with low back pain and posture
These sound exactly like the advantages to be gained from regular weight training! Body weight training works the best in circuits, whereby you move from exercise to exercise without a break and then repeat if possible. This burns calories quick, trains your heart to work at a higher level and boosts Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption, keeping your metabolism elevated for hours after the work out.
Body weight training is compatible with modern lifestyles.
Are you someone who thinks there is not enough time in the day for a full work out? Body weight circuits can be done in as little as 10 minutes in front of the television- now try telling me there isn’t enough time in the day. For help optimizing and indeed, modernizing your work out plan to fit into your hectic lifestyle, give our office in Park Slope a call to schedule an appointment today.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C., L.Ac.
“No time for a workout,” you say?
On days when you can’t make it to the gym or you wake up with no ambition to go for that run, there are still things you can be doing to stimulate your brain and body. It just takes a little bit of creativity: workouts can be done in small doses (1-10 minutes) that still capture the same benefits as a full workout.
A quick workout should:
Get your heart rate up
Move your muscles to remove them from a state of constant contraction
Encourage blood to flow more freely to all parts of the brain and body.
Micro-workouts serve a purpose
They do serve a very important purpose of bailing you out on days when a full workout is not on the cards. Focus on simplicity: you should be able to jump up from your seat at work and dive into a workout within your personal space. Examples of this include 5 minute yoga or pilates routines, 60 seconds of jumping jacks or 20 push-ups in an hour. Planking is great because all it asks is for you to get into and hold a position for as long as you can! The weight of your body and the position will condition the parts of your core which count for maintaining good posture throughout the day.
Make your space workout-accessible
Keeping a set of dumbbells, a yoga mat or a jumping rope stowed underneath your desk allows you to jump in and out of a workout whenever you have a spare moment. Workouts are about discipline so it makes sense to start small and work your way up- the important part is that you get your body moving throughout the day when you would otherwise be sedentary.
Dr. Karen Thomas, D.C.