The weather is turning and the days are getting shorter. Now the excuses of not having enough time to do a workout during your day seem even more justified. Working long days, raising a family or any other number of priorities can send us waving the white flag when it comes to our exercise goals sometimes. But did you realize there are plenty of ways that you can get in fitness right at work, often in the comfort of your own desk area?
Doctors recommend that any exercise at all is helpful. Of course, it is recommended by many that we get 30 minutes in each day for at least 5 days per week. Sadly, most Americans do not come close to these criteria. If you are like me and prefer not to walk stiffly like an ironing board when you stand up, or would like to avoid other desk job hazards such as headaches, backaches and carpal tunnel syndrome, then read on. A huge thank you goes to webmd.com where I located many stretches and exercises you can complete during your work day.
- While sitting in your seat, pump both arms over your head for 30 seconds, then rapidly tap your feet on the floor, football drill style, for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
- Take the stairs – do two at a time for a harder workout. Do this 5-7 times each day.
- Do one-legged squats, holding onto something for support, while waiting for a copier or fax to complete a job.
- Sitting in your chair, lift one leg off the seat, extend it out straight, hold for two seconds; then lower your foot (before hitting the floor) and hold for several seconds. Switch and do the same for the other leg. Do each leg 15 times.
- Place your hands on the desk and grip. Slowly push your chair back until your head is level between your arms and you are gazing at the floor. Then slowly pull yourself back in. This one is helpful in stretching your back and strengthening your biceps. Do this one 15 times.
- Sitting in your chair, straight and tall, stretch both arms over your head and reach to the ceiling. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
- Roll your head over so that your right ear just about touches your shoulder. Using your hand, press your head a little lower, gently. Hold for 10 seconds. Rest and repeat on the other side as well.
- Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right, and hold for a few seconds. Switch sides and repeat 15 times. This is a yoga posture that relieves tension.
- Back away from your desk a little bit and put your right heel up on the desk. Sit up straight, and bend forward just enough to where you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Flex your foot for an additional few seconds and then point it the other way. Now, bend forward just a little more and repeat this action, holding for 10 seconds. Do this with your opposite leg as well. This will help to ease tension in the areas of the hamstrings and lower back.
Give some or all of these a try and see if you begin to feel a difference in your mobility or even your energy. I’ve even done lunges in the bathroom on my way to the bathroom stall – why not? Have fun with it!