We all know the risks of a sedentary lifestyle yet with the business of our hectic daily lives it can seem virtually impossible to find the time to exercise regularly, particularly when it comes to going to a gym or class every week.
However, sitting at a desk all day, followed by sitting in a car on the commute home, then sitting on the sofa in the evening, can all take its toll on our health as we are not designed to be seated for such prolonged periods of time.
Sitting down all day not only drains our energy but it can also raise our risk of serious illnesses in later life including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Unfortunately, many office-related roles do now require very little time away from our desks.
While we might try to fit in a walk around the block at lunchtime, or when we get home, unfortunately our busy schedules mean we more often than not end up grabbing a sandwich at our desks for lunch, and by the time we get home, are just too tired to face the gym.
Scott Reid from focusperformance.co.uk gave us this tip… “Taking breaks from your office routine every half an hour, to do some light exercises at your desk, won’t take much time and really can counteract the bad effects of sitting down for hours at a time. Why not set a timer to remind you that you need to move?”
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Exercises You Can Do in the Office
Here are our five exercises that you can do regularly in your office:
Walking is probably the easiest exercise you can do in the office. Walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift, go for a walk around the block at lunchtime, and walk to the coffee machine and the bathroom regularly for breaks.
You can also walk around while you are on the phone, and walk over to talk to someone rather than send them an email.
You will be surprised at just how many steps you can end up taking in a day, just by making the effort to get up and walk every half hour, away from your desk. You will also most likely find that moving away from your screen and taking a break will actually help generate ideas and make your mind feel sharper too.
02. Calf Stretches
Stretching out your calf muscles will help to keep them strong and improve your balance as well as getting the blood flowing around your legs. You can do this any time you find yourself standing in one place in the office, without being too obvious you are exercising.
Stand with your feet spread about shoulder-width apart, rise up onto tiptoe. Stay in this position for a few seconds to really raise your calf muscles, and then lower back onto your feet. Repeat this exercise a few times.
You can make it work harder for your legs by only working one at a time. This exercise really helps to stretch out your calf muscles, which is just what they need after you have been sitting still for any length of time. It’s great for helping to strengthen your legs.
3. Triceps Exercises
These extension exercises are perfect for helping to strengthen the back of your upper arms. You would normally do them with a weight at the gym but in the office, you could opt for a water bottle or a book instead. The aim is to extend your arm muscles.
You need to start by taking your chosen weight and holding it behind your head with both your hands. Then you need to slowly stretch your arms up towards the ceiling. The next step is to lower them slowly back behind your head. You can then repeat this exercise several times.
4. Squats Using Your Chair
Doing these exercises will no doubt attract a few looks from your co-workers so it’s definitely one you could all time to do together. A chair squat will help to tone your leg muscles and needs quite a lot of effort.
You need to take your chair and stand in front of it. Place your feet hip-width apart and then begin to lower yourself gently down until you almost sit on the chair.
Don’t actually sit down. Push yourself back up to standing up and then repeat this exercise several times. Make sure your chair is secure as you do this as you don’t want it to move.
5. Lunging Exercises
Again, this is an exercise that is slightly conspicuous but can be done while taking a phone call or when you have some time away from your desk. It will help to get your heart rate increased as well as working on your leg muscles.
You need to stand straight, put your shoulders back, and engage your center. Step forward with one leg before lowering down until your knee is at 90 degrees.
Then you need to push back into a standing upright position, swap legs and repeat the exercise again. You need to continue repeating the exercise until you can feel the burn.
I hope you find these exercises useful. Anyway, you can also check other office stretches that help you to relieve tension and stress throughout the day.