A sedentary lifestyle is linked to several serious diseases, chronic back pain and depression. According to the American Heart Association, even regular workouts don’t counteract the ill effects of sitting around all day.
It’s time to get moving. Here are some easy ways to exercise at work without rearranging furniture or getting excessively sweaty.
Stand and Deliver
Simply standing or pacing is better than nothing. Health experts recommend dividing your workday into equal time sitting and standing.
Get up for anything you can do on your feet such as make phone calls or tidy your work station. While you're on the phone, march in place, do knee bends or do leg lifts to the front, back and sides.
Plant your feet approximately 18 inches apart. Turn your feet outward as far as you comfortably can. Hold your upper body erect and slowly bend your knees out over your feet. Go as low as you can before using your thigh muscles and glutes to push yourself back up.
If you’re wearing a pencil skirt, try this some other day.
First, make sure that no one is behind you.
Make fists and bend slightly at the waist. Bending your knee, pretend you’re trying to give yourself a good kick in the rear. As you kick back with each leg, punch forward with the opposite arm.
Give Me Twenty
Unfortunately, no office workout would be complete without pushups.
Place your palms shoulder-width apart on the edge of your desk. Fully extend your arms. On tiptoe, inch your feet back until your body is prone. Do pushups off the desk.
This somewhat difficult exercise is great for quads.
Back up to a wall and take two steps forward. Lean backward until the wall is fully supporting your back. Slowly slide down the wall until your knees and hips form right angles.
It should look like you’re sitting in a chair against the wall. Your knees should be directly over your feet, and your back should be flush against the wall. Hold the sitting position for as long as you can. Depending on your height, you may have to adjust your distance from the wall.
The Desk Set
There are numerous ways to exercise while sitting at your desk:
- Tone your calves by raising your heels until you're on tiptoe. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat several times.
- Rotate your ankles in both directions to improve flexibility and prevent sprains. Extend your legs and raise them as high off the floor as you can with your toes pointed down. Then, repeat with your toes pointing toward the ceiling. That stretch helps prevent plantar fasciitis and shin splints when you’re active.
- Tighten up your rear by repeatedly clenching your buttocks and holding for 10 seconds.
- Keeping your hips squared in your chair, gently swivel from side to side from the waist to stretch your back.
- Do various arm stretches while clutching light dumbbells or full water bottles.
- Strengthen your core with chair crunches. Slide your bottom to the very edge of the seat. Lean your back against the backrest. In one motion, lift your feet a few inches off the floor and your back a few inches off the backrest. Hold your position for 10 seconds each time.
- Slide to the middle of your seat. Sit with your knees bent and your feet together directly in front of the chair. Place your hands on either side of you and try to raise yourself off the seat. If you succeed, hold the position for as long as you can.
Consider buying some inexpensive pieces of equipment to keep at work. You can add variety to your office workout with something as simple as an exercise ball or 36-inch trampoline. Resistance bands are also highly versatile, and they're easy to store.
However you go about it, exercise at the office. You’ll boost your health, energy level, productivity and mood.