Increase energy, productivity and creativity while reducing stress.
Each week we'll be coming at ya with a workout routine you can do at work!
Working a desk job, 40 hours a week — or even more, when the busy season comes around — helping your kids with their homework, taking care of your dog, cooking dinner, and all that commuting leaves little to no time to get in your workout.
We've created several workout plans that you can do discretely at work without looking silly.
The Benefits of Desk Exercises
Sitting for long periods at your desk can lead to some serious complications.
This lack of activity doesn’t just affect your health. It can have a direct impact on your work performance and engagement. According to studies from the American College of Sports Medicine and the Journal of Workplace Health Management:
60% of employees said their time management skills, mental performance, and ability to meet deadlines improved on days they exercised
27% of employees reported higher levels of “dealing calmly with stress” on days they exercised
41% of employees reported higher rates of “feeling motivated to work” on exercise days
Besides these health aspects, the number one benefit exercise has on your work is that it improves your productivity by allowing you to take regular breaks and clear your mind.
The Office Workout Series: Week One
1. Relieving Neck Tension
Before you get started with any exercise, make sure you get rid of some of the tension that’s accumulated from hours of sitting at your desk.
These yoga moves for your neck and shoulders will allow you to avoid any headaches or neck pain later in the evening by taking the strain off your muscles.
Despite how simple these moves seem, they are very effective and involve no pain.
2. Wrist Stretches
Particularly useful for people who use the computer a lot, these wrist stretches help you relieve and avoid wrist pain and other more serious conditions in the future.
3. High Knees
Need some cardio? Stand up from your desk and try to get your knees as high as you possibly can.
This exercise is similar to running in place but you’re focusing on bringing your knees high. You can use your hands and tap the palms with your knees to make sure you’re doing the exercise correctly.
Try going for three sets of 20 repetitions first. You can also use this quick exercise as a way to warm up before another workout too.
4. Seated Leg Raises
With this exercise, you won’t ever have to worry about skipping leg day.
You can do these leg and abdominal exercises even when you’re in a meeting or on a conference call without people noticing.
And the best part? They target your quadriceps (the front of your thighs), hamstrings (the back of your thighs), and glutes (the butt) — so you get a killer compound exercise without ever getting up.
Sit upright in your office chair. Straighten your left leg so that it is parallel to the floor and hold it in place for 10 seconds.
Now, do the same thing with your right leg.
Repeat both legs for 15 repetitions. Once you build up strength, try adding weight to the exercise by looping your purse or briefcase on your legs while you do the raises.
5. Chair Dips
For this exercise, you need an office chair that won’t roll away from you.
Scoot up to the very front edge of your chair, place your legs out in front of you, and place your hands on either side of your hips, fingers pointing towards your desk. Grasp the edges of the chair with both hands, and use your core and arms to raise your body up off the chair and then down so that your rear goes down toward the floor.
Push yourself back up, and repeat this 15 times. Do three cycles of 15.
6. Calf Raises
Use water bottles for extra weight or lean on a chair or wall for more stability.
Have your hands by your side, lift up to the balls of your feet, go down, lift up again, and repeat this process while keeping your core tight. Stay nice and tall without rounding.
Maintain all positions for two or three seconds.
Go for two to three sets of to 12 to 15 reps or until you start feeling the burn.
7. Shadow Boxing
Not only will this exercise raise your heart rate and bring in some cardio, it will also be a good stress release if you had a particularly frustrating day at the office.
Again, like other cardio exercises, work this repetition into scheduled intervals in your workday.
8. Water Bottle Free Weights
For a simple, effective variant on your favorite free weight exercises, take two filled water bottles and bust out these arm exercises.
For each exercise, try three sets of 10 to 30 repetitions, according to the weight of your water bottles and your current strength. You can even turn these into a full arm day workout.
9. The Rocking Plank
This is a variant on a plank exercise, using a very similar form. Start in elbow plank with your feet together. Keeping your abs engaged rock forward and then back on your toes (1 rep). This will work your core and your legs. Drop your knees to the floor for a modification.
Repeat 15 times each side for a total of 30 reps.
10. The Chest Opener
This is a quick and effective stretch for anyone who experiences (or wants to avoid) frequent shoulder pain.
Sit on the edge of your chair, place both hands behind the lower part of the neck, round this position with your elbows slowly coming in, and hold the chin down. Then, open up your chest and arms while holding your head high and squeezing your shoulder blades, and repeat.
Five to 10 repetitions as part of a regular complete workout will do. You can also try doing this stretch several times a day. Make sure you don’t hold your breath so you don’t get tired easily.
If you want a killer workout for your quads, there aren’t many exercises that beat lunges.
Stand with your feet halfway apart at shoulder-width length. Bring one leg to the front, and extend the other towards the back, standing on your toes.
This is your starting position.
Slowly bend the knee of your front leg, forming a 90-degree angle (the knee shouldn’t extend past the toes), and slowly lunge, while also bending the other leg. Bring your whole body down, until your back knee touches the ground.
Do 5 to 15 reps, and then switch legs.
You can make this even more challenging by adding some weight. Just get two bottles of water and pretend like you’re holding dumbbells.
12. Desk Push-Ups
This is a great upper body exercise.
Place your palms at the edge of your desk (about shoulder-width apart), and move your feet away from the desk until you are inclined towards it.
Then, slowly lower your chest down towards the desk while breathing in, and then push yourself back up (as you would during a regular push-up).
Repeat as many times as you can.
Make sure that you’re wearing the right shoes, or not wearing any at all.
13. Pretend Jump Rope
This is another quick cardio workout that you can sneak into your routine.
Stand with your feet close together, extend your forearms in the opposite directions at a low angle, and pretend that you’re holding a jump rope.
Make circular motions with your forearms and jump every time they point to the floor.
You don’t necessarily have to do the circular motions, but pretending that you’re holding a jump rope and that you’ll “trip” will help you time your jumps properly, resulting in a smooth workout.
And there you have it... Now you can go home and take on the evening without the added stress of having to make time to fit in a workout.
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© 2020 Diet Center of Grand Island Inc.