Having a job is a fact of life, but there are many things you can do to make the experience better. Luckily, the workday will pass by quicker if you find ways small ways to boost your focus and stay active at work. Sitting at a desk all day can have unintended health consequences, so adding some fitness into the workday can help prolong your life! Read on for several ways to say active at work, even during short breaks.
4 Simple Ways to Exercise in the Office
- Ditch the Elevator – And Take the Stairs!
Many people overlook this simple way to fit some extra cardio activity in their day. If you work in a building with multiple floors, consider taking the stairs up each time instead of the elevator. The small addition of cardio will help energize you for the workday, plus the extra little bit of exercise can help you shed a few pounds. If you use a pedometer and track steps, you’d be surprised how many extra you can sneak in by trying this!
- Set Reminders to Get Up and Move
When you’re deep in the zone for a work project, it can be hard to remember the last time you took a break. Set yourself computer reminders and alarms to take a small walk, get a glass of water and stretch your legs. At the minimum, make sure to take a proper lunch break, ideally stepping outside for a short walk.
- Plan Your Activities for Maximum Office Movement
Surely you have to move around the office during the day for various activities. An easy way to get some extra exercise at work is to plan your movement around the office so you walk the long way to the water cooler, print documents at the furthest printer and take a stroll near the window. The added steps are good for your body and can help break up a monotonous office routine.
- Stand (Or Walk) During Lunch
Although it may be more difficult, try not to sit during your meal time like you would the rest of the day. Going for a light walk during your lunch break can give you more energy and creativity, similar to the effects of holding a walking meeting.
Another great option is to try some quick exercises during your downtime, which serve as a light body refresher. If you don’t have time to make it to the gym, working out in the office may be your only option. Workplace exercises don’t have to be awkward, disruptive or embarrassing; there are many low-impact options that are perfect to do at your desk. Here are seven easy fitness routines that are office-ready.
7 Best Office-Friendly Exercises
- Desk Chair Shoulder Rolls
One of the most discreet exercises to do in the office are shoulder rolls; you can even do them sitting down! Sit or stand with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. Roll both shoulders forward in a circular direction and repeat 10 times. Next, roll your shoulders backward 10 times. Repeat as many times as it takes to feel more energized, loose and alert.
- Ankle Strengthening Lifts
Strong ankles are essential for a healthy and injury-free body; your feet and ankles are as important to your skeleton as roots are to a tree. We recommend working out your ankles often with a variety of simple exercises, especially if you spend most of the day in front of a standing desk. With your feet flat on the floor, raise your ankles and stand up on your toes, stretching the muscles around your feet. Repeat this 20-30 times and be sure to stretch your calf muscles afterward.
- Standing Arm Raises
When you sit hunched over a computer all day, your arms and upper back can become strained. Arm raises are a great way to not only get your blood pumping, but restore your energy levels throughout the day, especially in the late afternoon. To try them, stand straight up and extend your arms up over your head, with your palms facing toward the ceiling, lower, raise and repeat 20 times. You can even increase the resistance by using water bottles or other small office supplies, like staplers, as weights! Learn more about arm raises here.
- Seated Leg Lifts
This is one of the best exercises you can do right at your desk. Start by sitting flat in your chair and extending your legs straight out in front of you. Lift your feet up and down slowly 20 times. For added resistance, try balancing a book on your feet as you complete these reps.
- Simple Tricep Extensions
All you need for this exercise is a little bit of space behind you. While marching or walking in place, bend at an angle over your feet, hold your arms at your sides, and extend your fists out behind you in a fluid motion. Repeat this 10 times on each side, twice a day if possible.
- Jogging in Place
Thinking about taking up running, or are you planning on tackling a 5K this summer? You don’t have to go on a long run to get some of the health benefits; short bouts of jogging in place are great for increasing your lung capacity and clearing your mind for the next big work project. For an added boost of energy, try a short run outside during your lunch break, and bask in summer sunshine and fresh air.
- Energizing Knee Lifts
Your hip flexors and quadriceps could use a bit of activity if you spend much of the day sitting down, like most officer workers do. To complete this exercise, stand up and make two fists with your hands. Hold your arms out in front of you and pump them down next to your sides as you raise one knee up in toward your chest. Switch off between sides and repeat 10-15 times.
When you’ve returned home after a long day, you back may be aching from the stresses of your job. These simple back exercises are designed to take the pressure off of office work so you don’t have pain in the evening.
Have a Back Ache? 3 Best Back Stretches for Office Workers
Working in an office all day can come with a lot of ergonomic challenges. Sitting all day, having a poorly designed work station or using an improper chair can all be causes of back pain and suck the energy from your workday. Here are the three best stretches for office workers to help your body regain proper circulation and stay healthy while you’re at work.
- Simple Seated Back Stretch
Here’s a simple back stretch that’s perfect for sitting during a long day of work! Remaining seated in front of your computer and typing or browsing the internet can put strain on your lower and upper back; this easy and low-impact stretch is the perfect way to loosen those muscles!
Start by sitting in your chair with your back straight and your feet flat on the floor. Stretch your arms out above your head and touch your palms together. Keeping your palms together, slowly lower your arms and rolls your body down, until your hands are close to touching the floor. Take a few slow, deep breaths in this position and repeat as many times as necessary.
- Desk Chair Yoga Routine
Why is sitting so bad for you, anyway? It’s partly because staying seated in your desk chair can put pressure on the discs in your back, causing discomfort and pain. This short routine helps to stretch and elongate your spine, releasing pressure and activating core muscles.
Again sit up in your chair with your feet flat on the floor and press your palms together in front of your heart. Take a deep breath here and on the exhale, twist your body so there your palms remain in front of your body, but you are twisting deeply to one side. Repeat on each side, taking slow and steady breaths. These simple twists and stretches can be done in your chair during a short break at work.
- Shoulder-Strengthening Exercise
Have you experienced pain in your neck and shoulders from staring at a computer? Hunching your back can harm your spine over time. This quick exercise helps to increase back flexibility and strength right where you need it to maintain good posture. All you need to complete the exercise is a small weight, so feel free to get creative!
While standing up straight, take a small weight (or a book) in one hand and extend your arm out straight. Slowly, lift the weight up and level with your head. Repeat 10 times on each side, and be careful not to lock your elbows when doing this exercise.
Studies show preventable ailments make up almost 70 percent of workplace healthcare costs. By taking a few moments throughout the day to focus on your health, you can reduce medical bills and go to work happier and healthier.
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