Being stuck in the 9-5 grind doesn’t mean you can’t do your best to stay fit while you’re at it. Too many people find themselves gaining weight and losing fitness as the years behind a desk progress, but it’s very easy to do quite the opposite with a little imagination and some discipline and dedication. It might also reverse some of the ill effects of sitting down for extended periods.
Here are some ideas for some exercises you can do while at your office:
Movement burns calories, but being stuck at your desk all day makes this quite difficult, so the trick is to make the most of any time you are up and about. Start before you even reach the office by walking, cycling or even running to work and then taking the stairs when you arrive – this early morning cardio boost will leave you feeling energised.
During the rest of the day, find creative excuses to make little trips around the office by delivering and collecting things for people. Go see a colleague in person rather than calling them, and always make sure you take the stairs rather than the elevator. If you find yourself in the copy room, take a few packs of paper and pile them on the floor to create a makeshift step machine to use while you print. Even consider doing away with your chair and standing while you work – even this small change will make you burn more calories than sitting all day. And finally, when lunchtime comes around, turn off your computer and go for a brisk walk, you’ll feel much better for it.
If you want to get competitive about things, download a smartphone app that tracks your steps (or buy a pedometer) and use it to see how many calories you’ve burned and push yourself to do more each day.
You can take cardio to a new level by pedaling while you work. Mini-exercise bikes are available which fit neatly under your desk, just a couple of short sessions a day will get your blood pumping and burn off some calories. The most popular item in this category is the UltraSport Mini Bike, check it out for yourself!
Yoga and pilates are great for toning muscles and increasingly flexibility, but, depending on what sort of company you work for, it might be hard to pull out a mat and start a full-blown routine. What you can do is make the most of what surrounds you in your office cubicle, and once you start going you might be surprised at just how much you can do.
Go lean against your wall and then slide your back down the wall while bending your knees until your thigh is parallel with the floor. Congratulations, you’ve just a wall sit, which are great for core strength and endurance. Then, while sitting at your desk, alternative between legs, lifting them up parallel with the floor then lowering them but not letting your feet touch the floor. As your leg muscles strengthen, think about hanging a purse or weighted bag around your ankle to make it harder.
Sticking at the desk, use your chair for balance and do some leg curls, or push it away completely and do some squats. Assuming you’ve not got in trouble with the boss at this point, push ups, sit ups and planking can all be done discreetly with a minimal amount of space.
And if you’re looking for something you can do secretly in meetings, try holding butt clenches for between 20-30 seconds each, repeating until you feel the burn in your glutes.
Without a dumbbell in sight, working your muscles at the office can be a little harder. This doesn’t mean you’re out of luck as water cooler refill tanks and file boxes can make great substitutes for lifting.
Don’t rule out bringing a little equipment with you to the office either. Resistance bands and hand grips are easy to store and transport and are great for strength workouts. Push ups can be done using your chair pushed up against the wall for support and dips are possible if you can find two desks close together in an open plan office. Finally, if you think you can get away with it, think about bringing a removable pull up bar to work and finding a doorway in some remote conference room for some pull-ups.
You can work out using just your hands with PowerBalls and hand grip exercisers. Check the Weight Training Accessories main page for more on those.