When work interferes with your fitness regime - DESKERCISE!
Save money this January on your gym membership by exercising in your office!
It can be hard to find time to exercise during the workweek. Besides, even if you exercise before or after work, you’re probably still spending most of your day stuck in a chair, feeling unhealthy. But you can keep yourself moving and active throughout your workday by doing small, short exercises at your desk or around the office. You can also strategically plan your day to add exercise to your work routine.
Replace your chair with a stability ball. Check with your boss or supervisor first, as some offices may have safety policies about this. If you get the green light, go for it! Sitting on a stability ball automatically makes you use more muscles than you would by sitting in a chair by forcing you to use your abdomen and back to keep yourself upright. It’ll also encourage you to have better posture.
Be aware that too much ball sitting can put stress on your lower back. You might want to limit your use of a stability ball to 20 to 30 minute intervals spread throughout the day.
Squeeze your buttocks for 5-10 seconds. This is a great, secretive way to exercise your glutes at your desk. Just squeeze your butt cheeks together and hold for up to a minute or more, then release. You’ll need to repeat this exercise at least 3 times for 60 seconds each to see benefits.
Both women and men can also do Kegel exercises by tightening their pelvic muscles for at least 15 seconds, then releasing. Repeat 10 times. You can gradually work up to longer holds.
Use a hand gripper to work out your hands and forearms. Buy a hand gripper at any exercise supplies store. Squeeze the gripper for 30 seconds. Repeat this five times, and remember to do each arm.
Increase the amount of time you squeeze the gripper for a tougher exercise.
Do bicep curls with a heavy stapler or full water bottle. Do 4-5 sets of 12-15 “repetitions,” or reps. Be sure to work out both of your arms!
If you don’t think it will bother or distract anyone in your office, you can also bring a light set of weights to work. Do the bicep curls with these instead.
Swivel in your chair for an ab workout. Keep your feet just off the ground and touch your fingers lightly to the edge of your desk. Tighten your core and use your abdomen muscles to swivel the chair to the right and then the left. Do 10 twists to each side, and repeat this 3 times over the course of the workday.
Do leg raises under your desk. Straighten one leg under your desk and hold it up for 5-10 seconds. Put it back down and repeat the exercise on the other leg. Do 15 reps for each leg.
You can slowly work up the length of your leg raises, holding for up to 60 seconds and repeating.
If this isn’t tough enough for you, loop a purse or briefcase strap over your leg and lift that.
Squat over your chair for 15-30 seconds. Make your hands into fists next to the arms of your chair. Use the muscles in your thighs to lift yourself out of your chair and hover above it. Repeat the exercise 4-6 times.
This may only be appropriate if you have a private office. If not, a lunge can be less visible. To do a lunge, just put one leg behind you and slide your butt off the seat of the chair. Hold this position for as long as you can, then slide back onto the chair and switch sides.
Raise yourself above your chair using your arms. Lift yourself up and hold your body out of the chair for 10-20 seconds. Rest for a minute once you’re sitting again, and then repeat the exercise 4-6 times.
You can intensify this exercise if you cross or squeeze your legs together.
Be careful, too. This exercise may not be entirely safe in a chair with wheels.
Do stretching exercises to reduce stress and relax your muscles. Over the course of the day, be sure you’re taking the time to stretch. This gets your muscles moving as well, and it’s super important for relieving any workplace tension. Try these stretches to get started:
Lift your arms above your head and do arm circles.
Shrug your shoulders and roll them backwards and forwards a few times.
Roll your neck gently from left to right, focusing on tight spots.
Roll your ankles, point your toes, and flex your feet.
Stretch your hip flexors by pointing one knee at the floor and pushing your hips forward.
Lean back in your chair and push your upper arms back onto the chair to stretch your chest and shoulders.
Clasp your hands behind your chair and stretch your shoulders backward.