5 Ways to Exercise at Your Desk

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Photo from Flickr by libertygraceO

Does your daytime job keep your daily activity at bay?  Do you spend 4-9 plus hours a day sitting frantically typing away at email?  If your answer is yes, join the club!  You are one of the 80% of working Americans in that bucket.  However these desk jobs may pay the bills but they also are reeking havoc on your health!

Studies show that the longer you sit or are sedentary throughout the day, the shorter your life span will be.  Yikes, that’s a bit hard to swallow.  So if you love your job, you can’t get around sitting at a desk for work, what can you do?

Here are 7 easy ways to weasel in a few easy exercises/health steps you can do at your desk to help combat the dreaded health outlook for us worker bees:

1. Lunges are your butt’s best friend!  Get up and move that body.  Challenge yourself to do 50 lunges throughout the day at your desk (no that’s not too much to ask!).  Whether you bang them all out at one time, break them up by tens, or do a morning and afternoon session this will ensure you boost your heart rate and work off that extra cellulite hiding a toned backside. How easy, right?

2. Stretch out your sides!  Get your upper body moving with some side bends and a few back bends. If you really feel like getting crazy throw in a few shoulder and head rolls!  You’ll immediately feel a difference if not a bit of energy from stretching out your spine.  For an added challenge add some weight whether there’s a 5lb dumb bell in your cube or a heavy book/piece of equipment. Don’t forget to say ahhh!

3. Take a walk.  Try to make sure you are getting up once an hour or hour and a half max.  This will get your circulation moving and will give you an opportunity to fill up a glass of water and meet your daily water needs.  Have a pedometer?  Great! Chart your progress throughout the day…. 10,000 daily steps is possible you just have to make time for it.  Don’t have a pedometer?  i strongly encourage you to get one, heck you may even surprise yourself with amount of steps you take a day.

4.  Flex those muscles: invest in some light weight to keep in your cube 2-5 lbs max. Try to fit in 3 sets of 12 bicep curls before lunch and repeat after lunch.  You’ll be so proud of yourself and after a little while should notice some definition in your arms.

5. Downward dog baby! If you do not have a private office or enclosed privacy cube then this may be a little tricky to do without your coworkers wondering what on earth is going on over there! Go ahead and swap for basic runners calf stretches. If you are so lucky or are not intimidated by your coworkers, go ahead and make sure before the end of the day to wrap up with a downward dog.  This will stretch out your whole body especially your calves and legs.  Downward dog is wonderful for increasing your overall  flexibility.

6. BONUS TIP:  If your workplace allows for it, swap your detrimental desk chair for an exercise ball.  Sitting on that throughout your work day will keep you sitting up straight and actively working your core muscles all day long!

These are just a few ideas to weave exercise into your workday.  I hope this inspires you to try one, two, or all 6 tips for fitting a workout into your daily 8 to 5 routine.  not only will adding this in break up the daily monotony but exercise also may help you from crashing at 2pm or raiding the meeting leftovers in the break room.   Every little step counts!

Have any exercises you’ve looped into your work day?  Any advice to share from one desk job worker to another?  Let us know!

Simply Satisfying Apple Pear Bake

Don’t know what it is lately but I’ve been obsessed with making various bake apple dishes! Super simple to make and comforting to eat (or just smell!). Here is a recipe that I’ve made most frequently combing apples and pears for extra toasty goodness.  Enjoy!

baked apples in ramkins

Photo from Flickr by aenigmatēs

Ingredients:

2 apples
2 pears
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup multi grain oatmeal
1 tsp raisin
1/8 tsp lemon juice
Spray butter or 1tsp light butter

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 3570 degrees
  • Peel and dice apples and pears into chunks
  • Coat ramkin or small glass baking dish with a non stick spray
  • Spread apples and pears out on dish and add lemon juice on top.
  • Stir into mixture butter, raisins, and oatmeal
  • Pop in oven for 40 minutes stirring ever so often.
  • Let cool few minutes and enjoy!

Optional: add a light or fat-free whip cream or if using ramkin you can lace the top with puff pastry when baking for a healthy apple/pear pie!

Have any recipes your obsessed with? Think you’ve found any great hacks to lighten up a comfort food? Share it with us!

Getting Spicy: 6 Spices Your Kitchen Should Not Be Without

Do you like to spice your dishes up or do you avoid adding any spices like the plague?   How many spice containers do you have in your kitchen cabinet?  The problem with a lot of the spices we buy over the counter is the amount of time they spend on the shelf.

Spices, when fresh, are awesome for your health and can even prove more beneficial than some fruits and vegetables.  The problem is getting and then using spices while they are fresh before they go south.  A great way to do this is either grow your own, which unless you’re the town green thumb, this may be a challenge.  Another, easier alternative is to visit a specialty spice shop to pick some up fresh for max benefits.  Because spices really do play an important role in our lives, I’ve compiled a short list of 5 awesome spices sure to kick your health and spiciness up a notch!

spice containers

Image via Flickr by EasyPickle

Rosemary:

Also doubling as a woman’s name rosemary is one spice that’s in your best interest not to ignore.  Rosemary boasts antioxidant and antibacterial properties, can ward against candidiasis growth, and is used in treating those with asthma.  (say bu-bye yeast infections!)

Ways to use:  sprinkle on boiled red potatoes or cook with fish and chicken

Parsley:

This bushy twig does a lot more than make a plate look pretty!  Parsley is a good source of folic acid with a healthy dose of beta carotene.  In addition it has been shown to reduce carcinogens in the body, and help ease digestion (no more bloating!).

Ways to use: Chop into rice dishes like Tabbouleh  or sprinkle on cooked vegetables.

Cumin

From helping to fight colds to controlling indigestion, cumin is a spice all-star not to be missed from your kitchen collection. Cumin is also a good source of iron.

Ways to Use: sprinkle into black beans and rice, mix into tacos, or use with chickpeas in making an Indian style dish.

Cinnamon:

This spice is excellent in regulating your blood sugar. It is also claimed to reduce cholesterol however more studies need to be conducted to prove this is completely accurate.  It has even been shown to help reduce inflammation and help fight off bacteria in the body,  Cinnamon also is super fragrant and just awesome on sweet and savory dishes.

Ways to use: Sprinkle in oatmeal, put a dash in your coffee, bake apples sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar…the list goes on.

Ginger:

Ah, the ingredient we see in many detox teas.  Ginger and ginger root are also excellent in reducing chronic inflammation in the body and is responsible for keeping your gut healthy.  Ginger also helps reduce nausea and is an overall body calming spice. Word to the wise… no heavy hands with this spice.  Use in moderation for best results.

Ways to use: Mix into tea, blend into a stir-fry, or eat with your next serving of sushi.

Garlic:

garlic by tombellart

Image via Flickr by tombellart

This spice does more than just ward off vampires.  Garlic is excellent in boosting your immunity… move over vitamin C!  Garlic additionally is a good source of B6 and is great at regulating your blood sugar. Sure your hands may reek from the clove you ate for dinner last night but be proud, after all it’s for your health.  Want to reap the benefits of garlic but don’t like cooking with it?  Add a garlic supplement into your daily vitamin regime any local drugstore should have a bottle of these supplements.

Ways to use: Cook into vegetables (love garlic sauted with spinach), saute with olive oil and toss with chicken or fish, or dice up and use to make garlic bread.

Which spices are staples in your kitchen?  New to incorporating spices into your diet?  Don’t fret now’s the time to start!  Experiment mixing some spices simple spices into your dishes until gradually you can add more.  Be light in your use though… there is nothing worse than heavy handing spices as too much of the wrong kind can turn your dish south quick.

Now go explore your creativity!

Written by Kimberly Hale
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