Never enough time to exercise?
Want to get fit, but never seem to have the time to exercise? Starting to feel desk-bound with back-to-back video calls? Here are some great ways to stay fit even at your desk.
With more and more people working from home, a US Health Impact Assessment found that home working may be associated with more sedentary lifestyles and increased risk of obesity.
Most of our calories throughout the day are burned through non-exercise activity thermogenesis, which is things such as walking, and other basic activities. However, when working from home, sometimes our activities can be even more limited. Just think of all those back-to-back online video calls.
If you really are struggling to fit in a workout then here are some ideas courtesy of Total Shape, a fitness resource site that gives you little excuse and can meet all types of budgets.
- Standing Desk
Standing desks have gained popularity over the last few years and have been proven to provide many positive health benefits. Some of the benefits of standing desks is that standing burns more calories than sitting, even if you simply stand still.
Research has also shown that 66% of workers felt more productive and 87% felt more energised. Standing activates the muscles in your legs and core while stimulating circulation, which can help you to burn extra calories and build your strength. Standing desks come in a range of styles and cater for all different budgets meaning this is an accessible option for all.
Cost: £125 – £500
Calories per hour: 60 – 90
- Desk Treadmill
Although it is a more expensive option, this is one of the most effective ways to stay fit while working at home. It essentially takes the standing desk a step further by adding the walking element. Studies have shown that walking between 1 and 2.5 mph can lead to an extra 170 – 240 calories burned per hour. Not only have people encountered the physical benefits of getting more exercise, but walking helps to oxygenate the brain by stimulating blood circulation.
So, we think better and more efficiently when we walk. With most people having busy schedules outside of work, it can make getting the recommended amount of physical exercise difficult, which makes this a great way to stay fit while working from home.
Cost: £166 – £675
Calories per hour: 170 – 240
- Under Desk Bikes
A very similar concept to the desk treadmill, an under-the-desk bike features a small set of pedals that can slide under your desk so that you can pedal while sitting. The small machines can be altered to have more resistance which makes it harder or easier to pedal. This type of aerobic exercise is good for staying fit and can help strengthen your legs and joints. Studies estimated that peddling while seated can burn up to 10 calories per minute depending on the intensity, which means you could burn up to 600 calories an hour. However, the average gentle peddling will most likely burn 100-300 an hour.
Cost: £42 – £166
Calories per hour: 100 – 600 (depending on intensity)
- Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are an affordable option to help train your body and get fitter. You can perform plenty of more passive resistance band workouts even when you’re doing something at your desk. This means that in between typing and during brainstorming sessions, your body can keep active alongside your mind. Exercises could include bicep curls, overhead tricep extensions and shoulder raises. However, there are many variations and other exercises that can be done with resistance bands.
Resistance bands can help you build muscle and burn calories while seated at your desk. A study published in 2022 showed that resistance band training lowers body fat in people who are overweight better than other forms of training, including free weights and bodyweight exercises.
Cost: £12 – £33
Calories per hour: 180 – 252
- 7 Minute workout
Searching “seven-minute workout” on the app store will reveal a fantastic app that will guide you through various workouts that you can do in your own home, which take just seven minutes at a time. The best thing about the seven-minute workout app is that its programs are designed especially for people who are doing the workouts at home, and who have no special equipment. While there are some in-app purchases available, you can use the app completely free – so there’s nothing stopping you from getting started.
The 7-minute nature of these workouts allows people with busy schedules to fit in exercise and can help break up your working day which can increase productivity. Building muscle will also help you to burn more NEAT calories as well which in the long term will help you stay fit and healthy.
Calories per 7 minutes: 20 – 50
Exercise and living an active lifestyle are obviously important in staying fit and healthy; however, diet is a key contributor to overall health and fitness. People with few distractions at home may find that they are more aware of hunger than they would be at the workplace which can lead to more snacking and possibly an unhealthier diet. By focusing on eating healthy foods and healthy snacks, people who work from home can ensure that they are staying fit and keeping their bodies healthy. Studies show that both the overall composition of the human diet and specific dietary components have been shown to have an impact on brain function, this means that diet isn’t only going to keep you fit, but it’s going to improve cognitive function, and thus the quality of work produced.
“Roughly 2 in 3 people in the US are overweight and with many aspects of life becoming more sedentary, it’s important that people try to find new ways to keep fit and healthy,” said a spokesperson from Total Shape.
The spokesperson continued: “Life has become busy and more expensive, meaning that it’s harder to find the time and money to attend gyms or activities that help us to remain fit.
This guide provides a plethora of choices for people on various budgets and with specific preferences to ensure we are keeping ourselves healthy.”