Five Mini Workouts for Desk Workers

Five Mini Workouts for Desk Workers

Working at a desk is bad for human bodies. Our physiology is built around movement, but our jobs often require long periods of sitting. Companies need healthy people, so what can be done about this? Employers can encourage their workers to get a little creative with their break times and fit some exercise into the workday. It’s not hard to get started.

Step one is to get psychologically motivated to get up and move more often. Keep in mind that more movement will make you feel generally better.

Step two is to not feel shy about getting up to do light exercise. Employees that feel better perform better anyway, so it’s beneficial for your company too.

Step three, take stock of your office exercise equipment. While you obviously won’t have a full gym, you likely have floor space, perhaps some strong tables, chairs, and staircases. All of those will suffice.

After that, step four is to plan your regimen and your reps. Experts recommend getting up at least every hour. That may not be feasible for everyone, but that should probably be your target. We’ve compiled a list of some simple exercises to consider as you get started. Most of these exercises should take you about two minutes to complete, give or take.


1. Squats.

Squats are perfect in-office workouts because they work several large muscles without requiring a lot of room or making any noise. Even if you work in a cubicle, you’ve probably got room for squats. For proper form, keep your feet shoulder-width apart, back straight, head up, and keep your heels flat as you squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Some folks opt to go even lower for deep squats.


2. Leg Extensions.

You can exercise your core with a chair. Sit straight, upright, and raise both of your feet to press your toes against the underside of your desk. Alternatively, hold your legs out in front of you. Keep your legs raised as long as you can. Bet you can’t do a full minute!


3. Pushups (various styles).

Pushups work a crazy number of the body’s muscles, including arms, chest, back, abdominals, and even some in the legs. There are a few ways these can be accomplished in an office setting. If you’ve got the floor space, you could go with traditional pushups. If room is tight, you could do pushups in a standing position with your hands against the edge of a counter or desk. Or you could even do pushups against a wall, holding yourself a little extra longer in the downward position for maximum benefit. Whatever you choose, start with a comfortable amount, like 10 or 15, and work your way up from there.


4. Get your steps in.

Walking is one of the easiest activities to add into your daily exercise routine. Instead of coffee breaks (or worse, smoke breaks…) just get up and do a lap around the building. Going up and down your staircases is another great way to work your legs. Reportedly, many health-conscious business leaders are now opting to hold walking meetings instead of traditional meetings around a table. Some companies are even using step challenges as team building exercises.


5. Stretches (several types).

Depending on what muscle group you’re targeting, there are probably dozens of different stretching routines that can work in most offices. Furniture and space restrictions aside, one thing to consider about office stretching is your apparel. Formal business attire will likely not allow you much freedom of movement. Fortunately, most business casual outfits will work. Find a comfortable location in your office to get in several different stretching routines throughout the day. Pro tip: Make use of any rugs in your office to minimize impact. You can also leave a yoga mat beneath the rug for inconspicuous padding.


Keep It Moving

The more you can move throughout the workday, the better you’ll feel. Exercise goes a long way toward boosting energy and motivation too, which might even have the added side effect of making you better at your job. If you sit at a desk all day, it’s time to find creative ways to start adding convenient exercise routines and start taking care of yourself at work.

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Category Features, Health