What you do for a living may be good for your pocket, but not so good for your health. Continuing research shows that a desk job and a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of heart disease significantly and can lead to chronic health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and depression.

New research shows that even the recommended 30 minutes of cardio, five times a week may not undo these health risks. Overcome the damage caused by a sedentary lifestyle with these 17 easy exercises that can be done at work. Start small and slowly build up a routine that incorporates all these moves, spanned across the day.

Roof Raiser

  • March in place and push towards the ceiling with your palms up.
  • Return to a position where your thumbs are almost touching your shoulders.
  • Hold water bottles in both hands to increase intensity.

Power Punch

  • Rock from foot to foot and punch forcefully with alternating arms.
  • Keep your arm slightly bent to reduce stress on the elbows.

Flap Jack

  • Stand with arms by your sides, palms facing behind you.
  • Keep arms long and straight and move them backwards for five seconds.
  • Release and repeat.

Side Lunge

  • Put both hands on the edge of desk, shoulder width apart.
  • Keep feet and knees together.
  • Take a large step with your right foot to the right side and lunge toward the floor.
  • Your right knee should not extend past your toes and the left leg should be relatively straight.

Heel Lift

  • Get the blood moving on the soles of your feet with this move.
  • Sit tall and lift your heels off the floor till you are on the balls of your feet.
  • Try a standing version.

Neck Extension

  • Get those cricks out by sitting straight and holding under the chair with one hand.
  • Reach over your head with the other hand and try and grab the opposite ear.
  • Stretch your neck by leaning towards the arm over your head.

Wrist Stretch

  • Extend one arm in front of you, palms facing upwards.
  • With the other hand, pull the hand straight down at the wrist and hold.
  • Repeat with other hand.

Exercise at Work - wrist stretch

Stair Surprise

  • Taking the stairs instead of the lift is good for your health.
  • Accelerate the heart rate by taking two at a time for every other flight.

Wall Sit

  • Stand with your back against the wall.
  • Bend your knees and slide down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Sit and hold for 30 seconds upwards.

Grand Stand

  • Long periods of sitting have been linked to an increased risk for diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
  • Increase your calorie burn by working standing up for 10 minutes every hour.

Standing Meet

  • Standing scores over sitting so get a leg up by calling for standing meetings.
  • The bonus: They won’t last as long!

Exercise at Work - exercise in officeDesk Squat

  • Increase strength, build muscle and burn fat by mastering the desk squat.
  • Start with feet together and bend knees slightly till thighs are almost parallel to the ground.
  • As you bend, raise the arms towards your desk.

Leg Raise

  • When seated, straighten one leg and hold for five seconds.
  • Lower to ground without touching the floor.
  • Repeat with other leg or try both together.Exercise at Work - leg raise exercise

Abs Acer

  • Take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles.
  • Imagine trying to get your navel to touch your back.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and release.

Chair Dip

  • Sit at the edge of a sturdy chair; your hands should be either side of the body and should grip the edge.
  • With feet a step or two away, straighten the arms and lift the body.
  • Bend arms to reach a 90-degree angle; your body must dip down now.
  • Hold and re-straighten with body above the chair.

Shoulder Shrug

  • Roll back your shoulders till your shoulder blades are squeezed together.
  • Imagine you’re holding a pencil between them!
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds and release.

Butt Toner

  • This isometric glutes exercise can be done even when you’re chatting with co-workers.
  • Simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds, and release.

Begin with 10 reps of these deskercises and build up to 15-20. If you forget, make a calendar reminder or use sticky notes. To know more about how to avoid the sedentary lifestyle, connect with our fitness trainers here

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Written by Roshini Gilbert

Roshini Gilbert

After a diligent workout plan helped her lose 30kg of post-pregnancy weight, chartered accountant Roshini Gilbert was inspired enough to go from tallying numbers to training others. A freelance personal trainer today, Roshini has been certified by the American Council on Exercises (ACE) for functional fitness and specialises in post-natal weight loss, exercises for low back pain, arthritis and osteoporosis. She also has REHAB Trainer certification from Australia for rehabilitative exercises and has trained with reputed sports physiotherapist Ulrik Larsen in corrective exercises and injury management. In HealthifyMe, Roshini has found a collaborator with a common cause – making people fit to live life to the fullest. Her assessment of how fit you are is based on three broad guidelines — stamina, body age (a person who looks way older than his age can’t be deemed healthy) and lifestyle (beware, those with bad eating habits and sedentary behaviour). Prepare yourself mentally first and then your body will follow, she says, of the opinion that if you want to change something about yourself then you need to challenge yourself to do it. Are you up for it?

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