One of the most common resolutions every New Year's Eve is to get more exercise and be less sedentary in the upcoming year. Sitting in an office all day has been shown to be detrimental to one's health in a variety of ways, and it can be difficult to get the blood pumping during the workday. It can be difficult and even overwhelming for someone that is mostly sedentary to begin exercising, and many people quickly lose the "resolution drive" after a while. Here are a few simple, low-impact exercises one can perform in an office setting that most people should be able to do. NOTE: Different people have different fitness levels, health issues, stamina levels, and special circumstances affecting them, so please discuss all exercise plans with your healthcare professional.
Cardio exercise helps burn calories, strengthens the heart and lungs, releases endorphins, and help to get better quality of sleep. Parking further from the office, riding a bike or walking to work, taking a stroll around the building on lunch, and taking the stairs are all excellent ways to sneak in some simple cardio during your workday. Other things you can do are jog or march in place at your desk, alternate lifting your feet to the height of your wastebasket, dance (yes, dance!) at your desk, and walk around the office.
Upper Body Exercises
Arm Dips: For arm dips, be sure you have a stationary chair instead of a chair with wheels. Scoot to the front of your chair with your feet flat on the floor, holding onto the chair arms. Bend your elbows and lower yourself down off the chair until your knees are at a 90-degree angle, hold for a few seconds, and lift yourself up.
Curls: Arm curls can be done with nearly anything in an office setting, from a stapler to a bottle of water to a ream of paper. Just hold the item of your choice and perform regular bicep curls like one would with a traditional weight. Starting from your thigh, flex your bicep as you curl your arm, hold, and slowly lower.
Fist Pumps: Fist pumps are pretty straightfoward- just pump your fists in the air like you just don't care! You can also shadowbox in your cubicle to get your muscles engaged. Not only will that blood get going, but it might help you release some work stress, as well!
Core Body Exercises
The Twist: This exercise helps strengthen core muscles and stretch your obliques. 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 your desk chair from side to side.
Desk Crunches: Desk crunches help engage the core muscles while sitting. With both elbows on the thighs, try to curl your chest in towards the legs while resisting movement with the arms. Hold for a few moments, release, and repeat.
Lower Ab Leg Lifts: Seated at your desk, keep your core tight as you lift one knee at a time, holding for a few moments before lowing your leg back down. You can also do this with both legs at the same time for a little extra challenge.
Lower Body Exercises
Calf Raises: With your feet shoulder width apart, stand on the balls of your feet, pause for a few moments, and lower back down. You can also do this one leg at a time for a bit more challenge.
Leg Raises: While seated, straighten one or both legs and hold in place for a few moments before lowering them back down without touching the floor. You can also add weight in the form of purses, laptop bags, and backpacks.
Upper Leg Curl: To strengthen the quads and hamstrings, a standing leg curl can be very beneficial. Holding onto your desk or the back of your chair, curl one leg back as far as you can, as if you're trying to get your heel to the top of your thigh. Hold a few moments, release, and repeat with the other leg.
Wall Push-Ups/Desk Push-Ups: Wall push-ups tend to be easier to perform for beginners than desk push-ups due to the deeper incline of the desk. Stand away from a wall or your desk and lean toward it, placing your hands flat against it and wider apart than your shoulders. Lower yourself down toward the wall or desk, keeping your abs tight to maintain a straight line from your head to your toes, then push back up until your arms are straight.
Desk Lunges: Lunges are one of those exercises that can be performed just about anywhere, and if you feel confident enough to perform them in your office, by all means go ahead! For those who are just starting out, though, desk lunges may be a little less strenuous. Stand holding the edge of a desk or table for support, and step one leg back into a lunge. With your weight on your front leg, tap the back leg in next to the front foot, then back out into a lunge. Repeat several times, and do it again with the other leg.
Wall Sits: The bane of gym students everywhere, wall sits are a simple and effective way to build strength and endurance throughout the body. Standing with your back against a wall, slide your back down the wall while bending your knees. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor, and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
Happy 2020 from Idea+Works!