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June 25, 2014 / Nicole Villeneuve

5 Ways to Exercise At the Office Without a Standing Desk

photo1When I moved to San Francisco after 5 years in a New York desk job, many of my friends imagined (over several drinks) what my California office would be like. The general consensus:

  1. Everyone walked/biked/unicycled/kayaked to work (especially given the lack of a 24/7 subway system)

  2. Instead of having coffee on a regular IV drip, Californians were energized by solar power and drank smoothies instead.

  3. Standing desks. Standing desks everywhere.

As it turns out, we weren’t too far off on #1 and #2 --hey, we have a lot of smoothies to test!-- but my desk at PlateJoy is much the same as the one I left in New York. So instead, I’ve found other ways to stay active in the office:

1. Take the stairs.

Yes, it’s obvious, but the walk between the parking lot to the office is often the longest one we get all day, so make it count! Download a pedometer app for your phone so you can see how the steps add up; if you’re short of your goal, take a quick trip down the stairs for an afternoon coffee break. Extra points if you work above the 5th floor.

2. Swivel your chair.

I do this anyway when I’m anxious, so I was excited to discover that I could be exercising at the same time. Keep your feet off the floor and hold the edge of your desk, then use your core to guide you back and forth for at least 60 seconds.

3. Stealth stretches.

Even if you’re all business from the desk up, you can still work your lower body without anyone knowing. Just spend 2 minutes of every hour contracting, holding for 10 seconds, then releasing your calf, thigh and butt muscles.

4. Hack your computer.

Even if you don’t have an official standing desk, you can optimize your computer for maximum healthiness. Make sure your monitor is lined up with your line of vision, since it will help your posture, prevent back pain, and reduce eye strain. If you have a laptop, place it on a pile of books in the afternoon for an hour of standing time.

5. Celebrate.

When you meet a goal or have an all-around great day on the job, don’t keep it to yourself. Jump up and down, fist-pump, raise the roof, dance it out. Keep it up for at least 30 seconds, and you’ll be getting a mini-workout in too.

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Nicole Villeneuve
Director of Content @ PlateJoy

Nicole Villeneuve is the Director of Content Strategy at PlateJoy and a certified Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. A graduate of Yale University, she previously worked in book publishing, with a focus on cookbooks and health, and ran the food blog Paper and Salt. Her writing has been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and The Daily Beast. Nicole lives in San Francisco and loves cooking, reading, exploring new restaurants, and running by the ocean. You can (very occasionally) find her on Twitter.


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