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Desk Exercise or Walking to Work: Which is Better for Weight Loss?

By now, we’re all aware that excessive sedentary time is detrimental to our health. When a person sits for more than 8 hours a day and doesn’t have any exercise routine or do other physical activities, they’re more likely to develop health issues such as chronic muscle pain, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or even worse, death. Numerous studies have shown that it’s highly important to encourage ourselves in moving around more so that we don’t increase the chances of acquiring the aforementioned health issues and have a healthier lifestyle instead.

We all know that exercising is vital, however, due to busy schedules, most of us find it difficult to hit the gym for a full workout. Instead, a lot of people have turned to ergonomic products to help them move around more throughout their day. There’s a whole range of them to use these days — there are lumbar supports, ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and even desk exercise equipment

These ergonomic equipment do help a lot in keeping the muscles active and the blood circulating but there are some questions being raised here: do simple desk exercises help us to lose weight? Would walking be a better way to lose weight than desk exercises? Find out in this article.

Which is Better: Desk Exercise or Walking?

Desk exercises have been shown to aid in incorporating more movement throughout the day. When we do desk exercises, we reduce the likelihood of muscle stiffness and soreness, as well as allowing blood to circulate around our body better. Aside from doing exercises, ergonomic products such as a sit-stand desk have become a great help in reducing the risks of sitting diseases.

The Journal of Physical Activity and Health conducted an experiment where 74 healthy participants were made to wear masks that measured their oxygen consumption to reflect how many calories they burned in three activities: actively sitting, standing while working, and walking. 

In the study, the researchers found that the participants burned 80 calories per hour while sitting actively. Standing while working displayed that the participants burned about 88 calories per hour. On the other hand, the study showed that walking burned about 210 calories per hour. From that study alone, we can already conclude that walking even just for half an hour, you can already shed an extra 100 calories a day. Even with the results of the study, it doesn’t totally mean that exercising at your desk or using sit-stand desks are entirely useless, though.

Walking might be better than desk exercising, however, walking may not always be possible for each person. This is where the desk exercises, standing desks, and other desk exercise equipment come into play. Studies have shown that when a person spends more time standing or takes exercise breaks at work, their blood sugar level returns to normal faster. Additionally, micro breaks to stand, stretch, and do other exercises can get your blood pumping, reduce muscle pain, increase joint mobility, and recharge your energy.

Benefits of Walking

Aside from helping you lose weight, walking has several other benefits. Most experts recommend walking for about 30 to 60 minutes each day. Walking for 30 minutes or more a day or walking on most days of the week can improve and maintain your health.

You can increase your cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Walking can also help in managing conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. You can also strengthen your bones and joints, as well as improve your balance. Moreover, when you walk more, you can increase your muscle strength and endurance, and lessen chronic muscle pain or stiffness.

How to Walk More During Your Work Day

Walking to work daily or a couple of days a week can help improve your performance. In a research study where 30 sedentary office workers participated, it was shown that walking even for as little as five minutes every hour can improve your mood and boost your energy, allowing you to perform better and be more productive at work. 

It’s understandable that not every person can walk 30 minutes at one time, especially if you’re someone who does not engage in a lot of physical activity. To engage yourself and incorporate walking it’s important to start slowly and progressively increase your duration and intensity.  Here are some ways that you can start incorporating more walking at work.

Take the Stairs

One of the best ways to build walking in your daily routine can be taking the stairs. You don’t have to walk all the way up to your office. Instead, take the lift part way and then walk the rest of your way up. As your fitness improves and when you’re more used to walking, you might want to try walking all the way from bottom to top. 

Take a Lunch Break Stroll

Get up from your desk and take your lunch outside instead of eating in front of your desk. The fresh air can help clear your head and energize you. Adding a stroll in your lunch routine can also get your heart rate up, burning all the extra calories you’ve earned, and squeezing out all the stress accumulated in your muscles.

Park Farther or Get Off One Stop Earlier When Commuting

Sure, it’s convenient to park your car near the doors of your office, or step out of the bus and walk right into your building’s lobby, but you won’t be able to get more walking done that way. If you park farther or get off one stop earlier than your usual stop, you can gain a few extra minutes of walking.

Shake Up Your Routine

Along with those walking tips, it’s also a good idea to shake things up in your routine to keep you engaged and challenged. You can modify your route and walk through a different street or neighborhood. If you aim to walk 60 minutes per day, you can split that into two 30-minute walks, and if you aim to walk 30 minutes a day, then split it into two 15-minute or three 10-minutes walks. 

You can also change your walking times. Maybe you walked your way to work this morning, so you can try walking after work instead, or vice versa. You can also keep yourself entertained by listening to a podcast or your favorite music while walking. Last but not the least, you can reward yourself once in a while with nice walking shoes whenever you achieve a new walking intensity.

Final Word

While desk exercises can help you keep active, walking is the better form of exercise that can help you lose more weight. It’s effective as it can aid you in increasing the number of calories that you burn, as well as maintaining your overall health. 

Aside from weight loss, just walking for 30 minutes can already increase your fitness, strengthen your bones, boost your endurance, and lower your stress levels. Best of all, walking is low-impact, requires minimal equipment, and can be done at any time of the day, and at your own pace. 

Remember to intensify your walking routine to progress towards your weight loss goal. It’s also good to note that shaking up your routine can help you stay motivated. Get up and start walking your way to a healthier body! 

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.