Clients often ask about ways to exercise while at work since that’s where they spend at least a third of their day. In order to get the maximum physical benefits associated with exercise the Department of Health recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio exercise per week. This can include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or other high intensity interval workouts that include cardio and resistance training. If you’re not into exercise this can seem like an unrealistic goal but think about exercise in terms of movement and get into the mindset of keeping your body moving throughout the day.
Here I’ve illustrated an office-approved workout that provides some cardio as well as strengthening exercises for the entire body. You can do many of these from your chair so go ahead and place your conference call on speaker and get to moving!
Cardio Get Up/Get Downs
Sit straight up in your chair, move your bottom towards the edge of your seat and raise your arms so straight above you so that you can still see your arms. Simply stand up from your chair and lower your arms as you stand. Then using your thigh muscles (quads) lower back onto your chair and raise your arms as you lower. Make sure you keep your chair under you so that you do not sit down and end up on the floor. Practice a few of these and then do as many as you can for 30 seconds. The faster you go the more cardio work you can get out of it. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat this three times.
As you are seated in your chair cross your legs like you are sitting cross-legged. Place your hands on the arms of your chair and using your arms and your core slowly raise your body off of your chair a few inches. Hold for3 seconds then lower yourself back into your chair. Repeat this movement five times.
Tricep Desk Dips
This is a great activity for strengthening your triceps and upper body and you can do it from anywhere. Stand with your back to your desk and place your palms directly behind you on the desk. Your fingers should be facing straight ahead. Slowly bend your elbows (keeping them by your sides and pulled in) until your arms are at a 90 degree angle. You can bend your knees to help with this movement or for more of a challenge keep your legs straight out in front of you with heels only touching the floor. Repeat this for 20 reps. Take a breather for 30 seconds and then repeat again two more times.
Sitting in your chair, move your body towards the edge of your seat. Raise your right leg straight out in front of you with your foot flexed. Then raise it a few inches higher (bottom thigh should be lifted off of the chair) and hold for 3 seconds. Lower the leg back down again. Repeat on the right side 10 times and then perform the same exercise with the left leg. Rest and repeat again two more times.
Sitting in your chair, move your body towards the edge of your seat. Make sure you are sitting up tall with your back straight. Engage those core stomach muscles. Place your hands on your desk with elbows bent towards the corner of the room. Slowly inhale (think count to 4) and then exhale. On the exhale contract your stomach muscles like someone is punching you in the gut. Remember to keep your back straight and pull your shoulders out of your ears. All of the movement should be coming from your core. Your hands are bracing your core while you exhale so you can really dig into your hands to pull those muscles in. Repeat this 20 times. Rest and then repeat again two more times.
You can do any combination of these exercises and feel the benefits of muscle strengthening and increasing your heart rate for better cardio health. Also think about incorporating walking meetings around the office and even walking around the room on your next conference call. Every little bit of movement helps!