Tuesday 23 August 2016

How To Keep Fit At Your Desk

   I'm a writer, a gamer, a blogger, and I run an online handmade jewellery shop - all this means that I spend a lot of my time sitting down at computer screens. It's true that I never skip my workout - I'm actually more obsessive than I am dedicated, exercising five mornings a week for about an hour and always getting in a good balance of resistance training and cardio. Trouble is, after that, I'm a potato. All my morning mobility kind of goes out the window when it's 'balanced out' by parking my bum in a chair for hours on end, and that's not good, nevermind how bad it is for your posture if you're slumped over a keyboard for most of that time.
   But it's so hard to get more movement in when you have so much to do, your day just gets gobbled up by chores and work, and when you do have free time you would rather spend it doing something enjoyable. Most of my day is spent writing, proofing and reading my book, and when I'm not doing that I'm filling orders or working on one of my two blogs (yes, The Wyvern's Tail is still active, and it consists mostly now of creative writing for the sake of practise and publicity). When I give myself a break, I usually turn towards games. I've been particularly absorbed in World of Warcraft lately - with the next expansion only a week away, the in-game pre-launch event has been pretty exciting. But that's computer, computer, laptop, computer, and while a standing desk is always an option, if you're using it for long periods of time your feet will drop off. Not really, but you get me.

   Fortunately, fitness instructors recognise this, too, and are addressing it in two ways: first, with short but effective HIIT workouts for those able to find thirty minutes to spare three times a week, and secondly, by providing workouts you can do at your desk at work, or on your sofa when you're chilling at home with a cup of coffee.
   I review countless workout DVDs on the blog, so the short but effective workouts can be found in my Fitness archive, but today I'm focusing on the latter by providing three very different and very free resources for your office chair convenience:

   Desk yoga - it is what it sounds like. Yoga poses you do at your desk. I've done it before, a few months ago, and I was surpised by how good it was. The deep breathing and holding the poses can help release stress on the spot, ideal for work, as well as help loosen tight muscles from poor posture all day. It doesn't take long to do, you can set an alarm on your computer to go off every hour or 30 minutes, then spend 5 minutes doing the poses. Furniture at Work has put together the below infographic in collaboration a top fitness instructor which includes a desk yoga sequence - you can try it out right now!
   Pilates is another option - a lot of it can be done seated, and is better resistance than you'd expect. Blogilates is an amazing free resource for pilates, complete with printable workouts and videos presented by the most wonderful Cassey Ho, whose pilates workout book, Hot Body Year Round, I reviewed last year (and I'm planning on trying her PIIT28 workout series in October).
   The 'Sofa Collection' is a series of workouts from another of my absolute favourite resources, Darebee - I've used their Hero's Journey roleplay workout and a number of their game-inspired visual workouts this year. Like desk yoga, these are workouts you can do at home on your sofa, minimal space and no kit required! Some are upper-body focused, others lower-body, and there are a few cardio routines, too.

   All of these workouts are so amazingly convenient, you can do them this very moment, and 'no time' really is no excuse. These are great workouts to do during loading screens or a lull at work, so bookmark the links, or bookmark this post, and try them out the next time you're at work or your game is on a loading screen - those Witcher screens last for half an hour! (They don't really, but they might as well - anyone who's played it knows exactly what I mean!)
   It's also a good alternative if you don't want to draw attention to yourself at work by getting up and wandering around, though walking about for a few minutes every half hour is another good option, or if you have nowhere to take a safe 10 minute stroll before and after every meal or during every break (a ten minute walk before and after a meal, or a twenty minute walk before or after, would provide you with 60 minutes of light exercise every day).

   Have you tried anything like this? Or do you have a clever way of 'sneaking' more exercise into your busy days?


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