It's easy to gain weight and lose muscle tone if you spend most of your work day sitting at a desk. Friendly co-workers who bring baked goods, office parties and drinking lattes to keep awake as you put in overtime can all contribute to secretary spread or blogger butt. Spending a full day sitting at a desk can lead to many health problems including weight gain, back pain and poor circulation. By adding desk exercises to your daily office routine, you can improve your general fitness as well as the appearance of your arms and stomach.
The only way you can actually lose fat is by burning more calories than you consume. Unfortunately, where your body stores calories and which fat stores it burns first are determined by factors such as your age, gender and genetic predisposition. Exercising your arms and stomach won't specifically burn fat from those problem areas. You can't actually spot reduce, no matter what late-night TV ads may claim. However, exercise will make your arms and stomach firmer and more compact, and improve the fitness and appearance of your problem areas.
Overall Fat Loss Strategies
To lose overall fat, including stomach and arm fat, combine diet with exercise. Eat a healthy, balanced diet emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins. Keep healthy low-calorie snacks such as carrot sticks or apple slices at your desk so you won't be tempted by junk food. In addition to stomach and arm exercises, add cardiovascular exercise into your day. Rather than just sitting at your desk during lunch or breaks, go for a walk. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Try commuting to work on foot or by bicycle rather than driving.
The only limit to the number of arm exercises you can do at your desk is your stamina and imagination. Do arm and shoulder circles in both directions to work arm and shoulder muscles. Punch the air above your head, to your sides, in front of you and by your knees to work all of your arm muscles. Hold your arms out from your sides and bend your elbows so your hands touch your ears to work your biceps. Point your elbows up at the ceiling and bend your arms to touch the back of your neck and then return to your starting position to work the triceps muscles along the back of your arm. Add dumbbells or resistance bands for a more challenging workout.
You can tone your abdominal muscles isometrically, even during meetings, by simply squeezing them as tightly as you can and holding the contraction for 30 to 60 seconds. At your own desk, raise your arms over your head and lean to the left then the right to tone and stretch your oblique muscles. With your hands behind your neck and your lower body still, twist your chest to the right and left to condition your back and oblique muscles. Work all of your stomach muscles by starting with your hands behind your head and leaning forward to touch your right elbow to your left knee, straightening up and then reaching your left elbow to your right knee. If you can replace your desk chair with an exercise ball, roll back from your desk occasionally to do crunches, balances and other core training exercises.
- HelpGuide.org: Chair Exercises & Limited Mobility Fitness
- AHM Health Insurance: The Hidden Desk Job Danger - Sitting
- The Telegraph: Desk Job Dangers: Why Office Working is Not Healthy
- AHM Health Insurance: Spotlight On: Desk Workouts
- The Telegraph: Desk Job Dangers: How to Exercise While Sitting at Your Desk
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- Unites States Department of Agriculture: Focus on Foods You Need
Carol Poster began writing professionally in 1974. Her articles have appeared in "Outdoor Woman," "Paddler," "Ski Magazine," "Women's Sports & Fitness," "Dance News," "Show Business," "The Athenian," "PC Resource" and "Utah Holiday," among other publications. Poster holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Eastern Washington University, as well as a Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri.