The workplace can often shackle you to a desk and it’s easy to slip into sedentary habits. However, a few minutes of physical activity spread out over the course of the day can have multiple benefits, both physical and mental. Daily low intensity exercises can increase productivity, reduce stress, heighten energy levels throughout the day, increase metabolism and even reduce the risk of diabetes. So here are 10 exercises that can be done around the office to benefit your cardio, upper body, and lower body.
It’s easy. It’s low intensity and there’s no reason you shouldn’t do it. The benefits of cardiovascular exercises like running and walking can improve heart health. So it’s a no brainer that you should be walking occasionally throughout the work day. Try using your walks around the office as a way to break up the monotony of desk work.
Running Up the Stairs
This one can get intense but go for gold. Try alternating your running patterns. On the first set of steps, let your feet touch every step, keep the knees high. On the second set, take the stairs two at a time with a sudden burst of speed. Alternating your run patterns will get your heart racing and ultimately improve your cardiovascular health.
While standing, plant you feet shoulder-width apart and slowly push up until you’re on your tippy toes. Once you reach the peak of your tippy toe stance slowly come back down but don’t let your heels touch the ground again. You want the calves tensed throughout this whole exercise. And it should take 5 seconds to go up and 5 seconds to go down. Do 10 reps and at least two sets.
Seated Glute Flex
This is perhaps the most subtle (inconspicuous, discrete) exercise on the list. While seated or standing, squeeze the buttocks and hold for 10 seconds, with as many reps you can manage. Believe it or not, multiple sets can be quite straining on the glutes as you do it throughout the day.
Seated Leg Raises
For days when you can’t be bothered standing or your workload is keeping you busier than usual, try this seated exercise that allows multi-tasking. Simply straighten and raise one or both legs and hold for 5-10 seconds. Then lower your legs but don’t let them touch the ground – rinse and repeat from the beginning. Go for 15+ reps until you’re tired.
When it comes to weight-lifting this is the main exercise for leg strength. And when it comes to paper pushing, squatting between work sessions can keep the blood flowing and maintain energy levels. Simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Extend and raise your arms to shoulder level. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds and rise up slightly. Repeat for 10 reps. If you’re looking for a harder workout, place your feet together then squat.
This can be done practically anywhere. All you need is stable desk, chair, table, bench, whatever you can use. Place your arms behind you onto the edge of a stable surface and plant your feet two or three steps away from the edge of whatever you choose to use. Start with straightened arms to hold your body weight and bend at the elbow to a 90 degree angle so that you dip down.Hold for a moment and using only your arms raise yourself back into your starting position. Repeat for 15 reps.
This is another exercise that can be done on practically any stable surface that can hold your bodyweight. Face your desk and stand 2 or 3 steps away. Place your hands on the edge of the desk with arms straightened. Complete the push up motion by lowering your body and bending at the elbows and raising yourself back up. Complete as many reps as you can.
If you’re indecisive, you probably do this already but simply raise your shoulders towards your ears, hold for a couple seconds and release. Repeat for 15 reps.
The Seat Raise
This will test your chair as much as it tests your arms. Consider yourself warned. In your seat, sit cross-legged and hold yourself up over your chair with your legs still crossed. Hold for 20 seconds, rest for no more than a minute and repeat for a total of at least 4 reps.
So now you have 10 ways to fit physical activity into your daily routine. The benefits of exercising not only help you physically but can actually affect your work by improving your mood, energy, and productivity.