Desk-ercize!


My students wrote their grade 6 provincial language arts exam this morning: a 2.5 hour standardized writing assessment that is used by the Alberta government to track student achievement and performance.  These exams are taken pretty seriously by our school and the community, so it was a big deal for our kids!





School snacks are definitely not what they used to be.  Today’s pre-exam energy boost: bananas and bottled water!  What’s interesting though is that these 11 and 12 year olds (most of them) happily grabbed the fruit and water, never complaining about their “healthy snack”.  Rewind 15 years when I was that age, and I don’t think the kids in my class would have given the same response.  It’s refreshing to know -or hope- that dietary preferences and choices are changing for our kids.  Here in Calgary, there were nutritional guidelines set in place this year within all public schools that regulate everything from vending machines to cafeterias to the food that can be sold during school events/functions, not to mention the restaurants and vendors that can be used!  I know that some people disagree with this philosophy (What?! No more bake sales and pizza parties?), but I truly believe this is a step in the right direction in creating a new wave of adults who don’t crave and require fast food within an elevator’s reach every day at work.

Speaking of our 2.5 hour exam- that is A LONG time for kids to sit still and focus.  I was thinking how proud I am of them, as I sat impatiently at my desk, just wanting to run around or something.  I was wishing I had one of these hilarious contraptions:




That cup holder looks a little small for my Starbucks traveller, though...



Seriously though, I empathize with those people who have careers that lock them in at a desk for hours upon hours a day.  Obviously, there and so many crucial and necessary “desk jobs”, but I just find it  difficult to imagine doing this day after day, only because I’ve never experienced this kind of work before.  Particularly in big cities, it’s not an uncommon practice for people to step onto their condo elevator, get into their car, drive to work directly into underground parking, take the elevator up to their office, sit at their desk all day, and then do the same steps in reverse.  It got me thinking of what kind of things people could possibly do in order to “exercise” (or even MOVE more) while working.

You’ve probably seen ridiculous “office” exercises in fitness & health magazines that columnists suggest to desk-ridden professionals.  Here are some recent doozies that I’ve read (note: please join in my fun and try to visualize yourself doing all of these in your workplace….too funny):




Office Exercises That Make Me Laugh Out Loud
(*Actual Fitness Professional Suggestions)


1. Step into a vacant room and do basketball defensive side shuffles around the perimeter as fast as you can!


2. Every time you make a trip to the printer, fax machine, bathroom…do walking lunges down the hallway!  Hold your full coffee to further practice your balance!


3. While you are sitting at your desk, rapidly punch the air (left-right-left-right) above your head, while simultaneously tapping your feet as quickly as possible on the floor for 30 seconds.  Repeat this 5 times.


4. Or you could even try this completely awkward manoeuvre:



Personally, I leave the “exercising” to the gym or outside, after office hours.  However, there are still some excellent flexibility and strength moves that I think people could ACTUALLY do, without feeling embarrassed or totally awkward.  




Office Exercises That I Actually Want/Need To Do 




Carpal Tunnel Preventative/Reliever Stretch


Wooden Leg Hold

Stretch leg out and hold it up as high as you can for 5 seconds.  Repeat 15 times and do other leg.


Seated Spinal Stretch

Sit up tall in your chair with one hand on your desk and the other on the back of your chair.  Twist, looking directly behind you, and hold for 10-20 seconds.  Release and rotate.  Repeat 5 times.





Seated Hip/Glute Stretch

A pants only pose, ladies! (or perhaps a covered desk)







Glute Squeeze
No one will ever know…


Tighten/flex the muscles of your glutes (aka bum muscles!) and hold for a count of 15.  Repeat 10 times.





Here’s some more ideas:

I’m actually doing the above glute/hip stretch while typing this, and I feel so much better now as I am a little sore from running lately.

One of my best pals Eryn (who is a physiotherapist) recently posted this on her Facebook page:


Interesting!

Well, after all of this focus on sedentary workaholism , I’m now prying myself OFF of this chair and outside for a walk with my little fur ball, and then getting a good sleep.  I woke up late this morning and was totally frazzled, which is clearly demonstrated in the following “morning commute picture.”  Protein Oats = distracted driving?  Probably.

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