Dubai: Got an office job and wonder how to stay fit and healthy when you sit at a desk all day?
The sixth edition of Dubai Fitness Challenge is back this year with its community-wide campaign to encourage all people regardless of age, ability or sporting level, to commit to 30 consecutive minutes of daily activity for 30 days.
There are many ways keep fit during this DFC even when you have a desk-job.
For a large part of the global workforce, sitting behind a desk for nine hours, whether it’s in the office or at home, is a reality of our working lives.
And it is likely for many that the sedentary nature of our jobs is not doing our waistlines – or our overall physical health – any favours.
Sitting for long stretches of time can not only lead to posture-related problems for our back and necks, but a lack of physical activity can cause a host of health problems. Yet, we need these jobs to take care of our everyday needs and necessities.
So how can you balance time behind a desk with your overall health and fitness?
Slim down the sedentary habits
Make staying still your nemesis. That might seem difficult with an office or desk-focused job, but there is a myriad of daily habits that can help you get moving, simply by replacing slots of your day with something active.
Live close to work? Walk or cycle to the office instead of sliding into the driving seat of your car. Instead of the elevator, take the stairs. If your company allows, get desks that allow you to stand or even desks that have a treadmill attached.
Swap your home office chair for a yoga ball to engage your core. Or try ankle weights and do sitting down flutter kicks every 30 minutes at your desk.
Take mini-breaks, and stand, sit, repeat
Desk jobs don’t have to mean you are glued to your chair. Research has warned time and time again that “sitting disease” – conditions linked to prolonged periods of not moving – is real.
Our metabolisms slow down, and we burn less energy, fat and fuel leading to excess weight. But if you’re sitting all day at work, you should get up every 30 minutes and move to encourage circulation. Take the time to move around, chat with co-workers and take a mindfulness moment.
Utilise your lunch hour
It can be tempting to kick back and relax on your lunch break, but after a few hours at work your body is ready to – and needs to – move. Just 30 minutes of exercise can be hugely effective.
Join one of the ranges of fitness classes, fun exercise challenges and group events during the month-long Dubai Fitness Challenge in Dubai’s urban fitness playground. It is widely accepted that 30 days is enough time to form a new habit and create positive change in ourselves. By the end of the DFC, your lunch break could be your most pleasant – and healthiest – time of the day.
Stretch or move at your desk
Take regular 30-second breaks to stretch while sitting down. Touch your toes, and regularly flex your back. Stretches for those with desk-focused jobs are best started from the top down, starting with neck flexions.
Facing forward, roll your shoulders back and down and grasp the left side of your head with your right hand, gently pulling it down towards your right shoulder. Repeat on the left side.
Another basic, yet effective, stretch to do at your desk is spinal rotation. Sit up tall and cross your left leg over your right. Grasp your outer left thigh with your right hand, placing your left hand on the seat behind you.
Get coworkers to move with you
Some friendly competition can be beneficial, so get your coworkers involved in your quest to become fit. The communal benefits of uniting with colleagues and doing something difficult whilst encouraging one another pay dividends - and will likely help you stick with an exercise regime.
Encourage your colleagues to walk with you on your lunch break, or by joining in one of the DFC group challenges or classes. Spice it up by setting a competitive target such as ‘the person who can do the most push-ups at the end wins a free dinner’. But, just having someone who has the same goal as you will motivate you much more to get in shape.
An initiative of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, Dubai Fitness Challenge was created to support Sheikh Hamdan’s vision of making Dubai one of the most active cities in the world.
Now in its sixth edition - with more opportunities than ever to get involved - DFC brings friends, families, colleagues and communities together to improve their health and wellbeing with 30 days of fun and fitness.
Featuring a packed calendar of activities and events across the city including Dubai Run and Dubai Ride, this year’s Challenge runs from October 29 to November 27.