With most of us already wishing for extra hours in the day, exercise often gets pushed to the back burner. But what if you could get some reps in without leaving your desk?
Exercise is the best way to boost mental and physical wellness, but it takes time, and time is something of a precious commodity these days. Even worse, most jobs today require long hours seated in front of a computer screen, the physiological equivalent of a tranquilizer dart.
CNN reports that sitting for a living can literally take years of your life. They cite a 14-year American Cancer Society study that found women who sat for more than six hours a day were about 40 percent more likely to die during the course of the study than those who sat fewer than three hours per day. Men were about 20 percent more likely to die. Even if sitting doesn’t kill you, it could lead to serious illness. Recent research from the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, Australia demonstrates that prolonged sitting at work raises the risk of dying from cardiac and metabolic diseases.
Frightened by the knowledge of what “taking a seat” is doing to us, a number of active workstation concepts have recently appeared on the market. Here are four gadgets that can help you burn calories and build muscle at work. Even if you’re a freelancer or just a busy parent, these devices could help you squeeze a little exercise into your hectic schedule.
1. Standing Desk
Some research suggests that even working out a few times a week won’t counteract the negative effects of sitting eight hours a day. Standing desks are professional workstations that can support your laptop and phone sans chair. Standing while engages your muscles and keeps your blood circulating well. This in turn keeps your blood sugar better regulated and lowers blood pressure. Even if it feels weird, using a standing desk will put you in some prestigious company. They’ve already been spotted at high profile companies like Google and Facebook.
2. Dumbbell Alarm Clock
They say getting up and moving around once an hour can do wonders to counteract the negative effects of sitting. But it can be hard to remember when you’re facing a deadline or on a long conference call. It may seem like a novelty toy, but this weight-shaped alarm clock by Neewer can help break up your day with a few much-needed reps. When the alarm sounds, only the upward swing of the 1.3 pound dumbbell shuts off the repeating buzz – 30 upward swings of the dumbbell that is – and you can watch your total count down from 30 in the LCD display. It’s not going to give you Michelle Obama arms overnight, but it’s a fun way to get your blood flowing throughout the day.
3. Balance Ball Chair
According to a 2008 study, performing clerical work at a desk while sitting on an exercise ball burns about four more calories an hour than the same activity in a chair, or roughly 30 extra calories in a typical workday. And that figure doesn’t include the additional burn that would come from bouncing or leg lifts, which many users say the balls inspire them to do. But no one wants to accidentally slide of the balance ball while on an important call with the boss, which is why we prefer this balance ball chair, complete with a topple-proof frame and back rest.
4. Mini Under-Desk Stair Stepper
We all love the stair stepper at the gym, but few of us could fathom buying one for our home or office. Now, mini stair stepping machines offer a portable and more affordable alternative. These small machines are ideal for combined use with a standing desk, but can still be used while seated. According to Prevention.com, you can burn around 91 calories with 20 minutes of stepping, and you don’t even have to leave your workspace.
Top image: e skene