After a long day of work and a battle with traffic on the way home, the last thing I want to do is go to the gym. And I’m even less motivated to wake up at the crack of dawn to get my workout on. Fitting in a good daily workout can be hard for those who work 40+ hours a week; couple that with sitting at a desk all day and we’ve got a problem on our hands. Here are a few ways to get a small workout in at work.
Take the Stairs
Elevators are irritating anyways. You’re in a rush and just as the doors are closing, that one person sticks their hand through, opening it back up just to go down one floor. Take control of the situation and use the stairs. Stair climbing can really get your blood pumping, plus it increases leg power while also helping you maintain healthy joints. Find an excuse to take the stairs daily: Use a restroom a few floors away, schedule meetings on other floors, or hand deliver something to a co-worker instead of utilizing inter-office mail. Take 10 minutes in the middle of the day to walk up and down your stairs. Depending on the size of your office building, you could set goals to increase the number of flights each day. You could even buy a fitness band to track your progress throughout the day.
Sit on a Yoga Ball
If it’s allowed, swap your chair for a yoga ball. With little effort, you’ll be strengthening your abs, legs and back while improving your posture. You may even be able to sneak in a few crunches. But don’t be fooled into thinking that simply sitting on a yoga ball will do anything – you have to be “actively sitting”: This means sitting tall, feet flat on the floor, straight back, chin in, shoulders down, chest out and shoulder blades together. Feel the difference? It may not be comfortable at first, but after some practice it will become second nature. Once you master that, there are other exercises you can do without distracting from your work, like slowly moving the ball side to side with your hips, or lifting one foot off the ground while maintaining your balance.
If you’re listening in on calls for a good chunk of your day, get a wireless headset and walk around the office while you listen. Even if you just decide to stand up, getting away from your chair is a good thing. If your office atmosphere is pretty casual, try a wall sit while you’re on the call, or a few walking lunges.
If you have a meeting with one other person, recommend a walking meeting. Just walk and talk. You could even take your meeting to the stairs to burn some extra calories.
Store a Weight Under Your Desk
When you have a few minutes to spare, do a quick set of upper body exercises. There’s no need to make a scene like you’re a body builder at the gym, but squeezing in a few reps will do your body good. If you work at a cubicle and you don’t want everyone to see you, replace that dumbbell with a big water bottle. You could also incorporate some triceps dips on the edge of your desk or chair. If someone calls you out and judges you for it, just remember that you’re the one benefitting your body.
I’ve got a desk that I can move up if I decide I want to stand. Almost everyone on my floor has that option. There are so many benefits to simply standing. It improves balance, strengthens your legs and burns more calories than sitting. Standing can also reduce your risk of blood clots; when you sit for long periods of time, the blood flow in your legs slows down. Standing increases that flow and pushes the blood up towards the heart. I’m no doctor, but that sounds like a good thing.
Yes, these exist. I’ve seen two in our office so far, but I have yet to use one. Imagine how fit you could be if you walked for a few HOURS a day. It doesn’t have to be fast, but it could be on an incline. Not everything can be done working on a treadmill desk, but reading, conference calls and even typing emails is possible. If your office doesn’t have one, maybe you can convince your boss to purchase one. People won’t use it every day, or all day for that matter, so one should do the trick. Although I’ve never seen one, bicycle desks are also trending amongst health-conscious employees.
Stop making the fact that you work at a full-time desk job your excuse for not working out. Stick to those New Year’s resolutions! Obviously, your main goal at work is to get work done – but instead of scrolling through your Instagram feed on your break, start strolling through your office and get active.
Let us know in the comments below what you do to stay active at work!