After experiencing the wonderful benefits of yoga and movement during the busy workday, many students ask what other exercise they could practice at the office. Doing isometric exercises at your desk might be the solution.
What is an isometric exercise? According to Wikipedia “isometric exercise is a strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction. Isometrics are done in static positions, rather than being dynamic through a range of motion.”
Even if you weren’t aware of this, you are already doing isometric exercises during a yoga class. A static hold during performing an asana is the type of exercise we mean.
Isometric exercises are used to prevent muscle atrophy in a limb that has been immobilized by a cast following a fracture and to fight the disuse syndrome experienced by astronauts as a result of living in a zero gravity environment. Also these exercises are used in rehabilitation after muscle and joint conditions.
One simple example: holding a glass of water in your outstretched hand. After a few minutes, this really simple and easy exercise will get your muscles tremble with exhaustion.
Why are isometric exercises a great choice for the office? Mostly you use your own body weight as resistance. Also, these exercises don’t need full range movement as they are static. Basically most of these exercises you can practice at your desk and nobody will notice you practicing.
We have found an entertaining article listing isometric exercises for every major muscle group: “Deskercise! 33 Smart Ways to Exercise at Work”.
Here are a few of the hilarious exercises for a short workout at your desk. We selected them from the article mentioned for a full workout in a few minutes time:
“The Silent Seat Squeeze: Believe it or not, some deskercises can be kept under wraps, and this isometric glutes exercise is one of them. To start toning, simply squeeze the buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds, and release. Repeat until the agenda wraps up or the glutes tire. The results will be uplifting in more ways than one.
The Grim Reamer: Scope out the office for a ream of paper, or a sealed package of printing paper. While seated, place the stack in between the knees and press legs inward, engaging the inner thighs. Continue squeezing the paper ream in place for 30-60 seconds while sorting through the morning’s flood of emails. (Now that’s multitasking!)
The Namaste: Whether you’re praying for a project extension or for more defined arms, this move has you covered. Seated upright with feet flat on the floor, bring the palms together in front of the chest and push both hands together powerfully until you feel the arm muscles contract. Hold the prayer hands pushed together for 20 seconds. Release and repeat the sequence until you feel a little more zen.
The Nape Shaper: Turtleneck season is over—it’s time to tone that neck! For the first isometric neck strengthening trick, put your head in your hands as if exasperated by the workday (you may already be in this position), and press your palms into your forehead as if trying to push the head backward. Resist the motion by engaging the neck muscles. Next, clasp the hands behind the back of the head and try to push the head backward, resisting the motion with your hands. Hold each deskercise for 5 seconds, or until The Evolution of Ryan Gosling has finally loaded. Slowly release, rest, and repeat 5 times each.
The Fab Abs Squeeze: Another silent deskercise, this one can be covertly executed when walking down the hall or seated during a call. Simply take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Stay squeezed for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
The “Crunch Time” Crunch: The deadlines are looming, as are hopes for a six-pack by summer. (And maybe a six-pack of Corona, too.) While most jobs don’t condone in-office boozing, you can get the other six-pack with some seated isometric crunches. With both elbows on the thighs, try to curl the chest in towards the legs while resisting the movement with the arms. Hold for 10 seconds, release, and repeat times 10.”
Please read the whole article to get more exercise ideas… and to check out the hilarious titles and descriptions of those moves.
Although isometric exercises look totally harmless, there is fair warning if you suffer from high blood pressure:
“Isometric exercises can raise blood pressure significantly for the duration of the exercise. While it will return to a resting level soon after, this can be dangerous for people with hypertension or any form of cardiovascular disease. Even if you don’t suffer from high blood pressure it is important to breath continuously throughout the exercises. Breath holding will only compound any increases in blood pressure.” http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/isometric-exercises.html
Have fun exercising at your desk! Every bit of movement counts toward a healthier lifestyle!