When I worked retail it wasn’t really hard to keep active. I was constantly on my feet running from here to there to help a customer: bending, lifting, restocking shelves, my body was always moving! But since working in an office the past 6 years I have noticed that even getting up to walk to the bathroom my legs hurt! I have sat soo long in that one position that my body just doesn’t want to move.
The hardest part about sitting all day, is after an 8 hours going home and trying to get a work out in when your body is still stiff and sore. So what I’ve been doing is trying to do as much as I can to stay active at my desk all day. Unfortunately I don’t have one of these awesome desk chairs to keep me moving –
So here are a few things I’ve started to do to keep my body moving, and more limber. (Side note: I’m not that special, so I don’t have my own private office – some of the exercises I can do without being noticed, the others? I make a lot of trips to the bathroom! So if you hear a lot of noise, or the floors shakin’, it’s just me gettin’ my work out in!)
1. The Twinkle Toe: Tap into your tap dancer by speedily tapping those toes on the floor under your desk. Or, graduate to a harder (and less conspicuous) move: Stand in front of a small trashcan and lift up those legs to tap the toeson its edge, alternating feet.
2. The Slog, Then Jog: Instead of working away for hours nonstop, take a mini break for a stationary jog. Pop up from your chair, (admire the butt imprint left behind!), and jog in place. Willing to huff and puff a little more? Pick up those knees! Continue for one minute, return to spreadsheets, and repeat.
3. The Cubicle Wanderer: Walking during work is underrated. Take a stroll down the hall to catch up with coworkers or welcome a new employee. Or, instead of dialing extensions and sending lazy emails to the manager two doors down, put in some face time. (Just beware of tempting candy jars when making the rounds).
Legs and Butt
1. The Wall (Street) Sit: Wall sits are great for building strength and endurance. Standing with your back against the wall, bend the knees and slide your back down the wall until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Sit and hold for 30-60 seconds.
2. The Silent Seat Squeeze: Believe it or not, some deskercises can be kept under wraps, and this glutes exercise is one of them. To start toning, simply squeeze your buttocks, hold for 5-10 seconds, and release. Repeat until the glutes tire. The results will be uplifting in more ways than one.
3. The Last Man Standing: Standing around isn’t exactly traditional exercise, but research shows it’s got more than a leg up on sitting. After all, long periods of sitting are linked to increased risk for diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, whereas standing significantly increases your daily caloric expenditure
Shoulders and Arms
1. The Namaste: Whether you’re praying for a raise or for more defined arms, this move has you covered. Seated upright with feet flat on the floor, bring the palms together in front of the chest and push both hands together powerfully until you feel the arm muscles contract. Hold the prayer hands pushed together for 20 seconds. Release and repeat the sequence.
2. The Fist Pump: Got your raise? Extra vacation days? Time to rock out like the Jersey Shore while simultaneously toning the arms. Fist punch into the air like a champ (alternating arms) and continue for 60 seconds or more — or however much time you have!
3. The Casual Lean: Waiting in the hall for a meeting to start? Perfect time to nonchalantly work out the upper arms! Lean against the nearest wall, supporting your body with the forearm only. Now lean into the wall until the upper arm almost touches it, and then push back out. Repeat for 15 reps or until the meeting gets underway
Chest, Back, and Neck
1. The Shoulder Shrug: Simply raise both shoulders up toward the ears, hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat for 15 reps.
2. The Nape Shaper: It’s time to tone that neck! For the first isometric neck strengthening trick, put your head in your hands as if exasperated by the workday (you may not need to act) and press your palms into your forehead as if trying to push the head backward. Resist the motion by engaging the neck muscles. Next, clasp the hands behind the back of the head and try to push the head backward, resisting the motion with your hands. Hold each for 5 seconds.
3. The Pencil Pinch: Lose the pencil behind the ear. The really suave workers hold it in between their shoulder blades! Show off your traps by rolling back the shoulders until the shoulder blades are pinched together. Pretend you’re holding a pencil between the scapulas (or try it for real!). Hold for 5-10 seconds, release, and repeat for 12-15 reps
1. The Desk Chair Swivel: Lucky enough to have a fun swivel chair? Use its twirl to your advantage with this oblique ab fix. Sitting upright and with the feet hovering over the floor, hold the edge of your desk with your fingers and thumb. Next, use the core to swivel the chair from side to side. Swish back and forth for 15 rounds.
2. The Posture Perfecter: Perfect posture is a must for long days at the desk. Start by adjusting the chair height to make sure the feet, hips, and arms are at 90-degree angles to the floor. Engage the core to keep the back straight throughout the day. No slouching allowed!
3. The Fab Ab Squeeze: Another silent one, this one can be covertly executed when walking down the hall or seated during a call. Simply take a deep breath and tighten the abdominal muscles, bringing them in towards the spine as you exhale. Stay squeezed for 5-10 seconds and release. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
These are just a few things I try – what are your secret exercise tips to keep moving at the office?