If you are reading this article while sitting in your office chair, you might want to stand up. A few exercises that you can do at your desk later are about to come your way. The trick is to get your spirits in line.
You may absolutely love your job, but if it is engineered to spend most of your time sitting down, it can literally kill you (we kid not!). Even the World Health Organization estimates about 3.2 million deaths occur due to lack of physical activity.
All that sitting is disturbing. Our inactive lifestyles can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, loss of muscle and bone strength. Our office setting is not just making us fat but also wearing out our back, wrists, eyes, and neck. It is high time that you incorporate exercise in your 9-to-5 routine.
If you are the introverted kind and don’t wish to grab eyeballs, here are a little creativity that you can take advantage of.
5 best exercises you can do at work
1. Warm-up with stretches
Who says gym is the only ideal place to exercise? Those long annoying start-up meetings can turn out to be good workout opportunities too. Warm-up with stretches and get your muscles ready with the following stretches:
a) Full body stretch, from head to toe
Begin with the neck. Gradually tilt your head towards the right shoulder. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Slowly bring it to the upright position and alternate sides.
b) Loosen up shoulders to add strength and increase flexibility
Sit up straight. Now roll both shoulders forward simultaneously in a circular motion. Repeat ten times. Next, perform the same in a backward motion.
c) Stretch wrists to warm up before hitting the keyboard
Sit up straight. Stretch out your right arm while placing the palm down. With the left hand, try to pull your fingers down. Hold on to this position for three short seconds. Then pull your fingers up for another three seconds. Alternate sides and repeat three times.
d) Stretch ankle and calf to re-energize your lethargic legs
Sit up straight. Lift your right foot off the floor and keep your leg straight. Now flex your ankle by pointing your toes up and extending it while pointing your toes down. Repeat the motion ten times and alternate with the left leg. To wrap it up, draw a circle in the air with your toes. Aim for both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.
2. Productive calisthenics near the copying machine
Make productive use of the time you spend while waiting near the copying machine at work. Throwing some leg toning and strengthening exercises when no one’s around.
a) Improve posture with calisthenics
Stand up straight. Lift your right leg to the back while keeping it straight and then slowly lower it. Do the same with the left leg. Now, bend your right knee and swing the leg back and forth for 30 seconds. Alternate with the left leg.
b) Stretch out hamstrings and calves with kicks
Stand up straight with the right leg in upright position. Now kick your buttocks with the heel of your left leg (at least try to). Do it ten times and alternate with left leg. Then, slowly raise your heels off the floor and gradually lower them. Continue ten such repetitions.
c) Go under the desk to strengthen abs and relieve your tired leg muscles
Sit upright at your desk by placing your feet flat on the floor. You will need to hold your abdominal muscles tight for this one. Now, stretch your right leg to the extent that it is in level with your hip. Hold this position for ten seconds and slowly bring the leg down. Continue for fifteen times. Alternate with the left leg.
d) Strengthen body muscles with chair squats
Sit upright at your desk while keeping your back straight. Now, act as if you are pretending to sit down by lowering to one inch of a chair. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Go back to the position.
e) Tone legs without a resistance band
Keep your legs straight and then cross them one on top of the other. Now, slowly raise them off the floor. Lift the pressure off the top leg by resting entirely on the bottom leg. Hold this position until your muscles are tired. Repeat by switching legs.
3. Keep your profile high with aerobics
You don’t need to join the gym (Looking around for the best gym for you? Try Fit O’ Clock) to get aerobics in place. It is possible to control your weight and lift your profile high with office aerobics. Here are a few tips that will do the trick.
a) Instead of e-mailing your colleagues, visit them at their desk to keep your body moving.
b) Water can ignite your weight loss efforts. Therefore, drink a lot of water throughout the day. And on the plus side, the more trips you will make to the restroom, the more calories you will burn. A tip: Visit the restroom that is furthest from your desk.
c) Brisk walking can get your heart beating faster. Therefore, in the office always walk fast. Make it look like you are in a hurry and somewhere important to be.
d) Try to stay as far away as possible from the elevator. Take the stairs instead and if possible, conquer two steps at a time.
4. Do lunges while on the phone
Lunges work on your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves getting your heart thumping. You can even perform some while making a phone call.
Stand up straight. Keep your chin up and core engaged. Bring your left leg forward and lower your body until your knee forms a 90-degree angle. Now, go back to the standing position and alternate with the right leg. Continue until your legs give up.
5. Strengthen calf muscles with calf raises
Improve your balance with calf raises. It can be done near your desk with minimum effort.
Extend your feet shoulder-width apart and balance your body weight on the tip of your toes. Hold this position for a second. Get back down and repeat. You can further challenge yourself by focusing one let at a time.
Note: We do not recommend any of these during meetings with the boss. On a serious note though build a healthy work culture. Make sure you do not spend much time sitting. Find reasons to get up from time to time. You aren’t sitting right now… Or are you?