Exercises You Can Easily Do at the Office


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Written by Guest | Last Updated February 24th, 2020
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Guest Post by Rebekah Miller

In a perfect world, we would have enough time to work a full day, get to the gym for a workout, prep our meals, and then finish our evening surrounded by those we love. However, it can be challenging to juggle it all. When our plates are full, we tend to skip over heading to the gym. Therefore, incorporating movement on a daily basis within our normal routine is essential.

According to JustStand.org, frequent low-intensity physical activity, such as intermittent standing during the workday, has far-reaching benefits associated with employee health, wellness, productivity, and satisfaction. This can have a positive organizational impact on corporate culture, absenteeism, presenteeism, retention, and healthcare costs.

Since you’re at work for most of the day, we’ve put together a few exercises that you can easily do inside your office.

1. Move more

When you have the opportunity, stand up more. Walk around your office, walk to the farthest bathroom, use your mini-breaks to take the stairs, and/or go for a walk outside. If you’re taking a phone call, go outside and talk as you get in some steps. Encourage a one-on-one meeting to take place while walking outside as well. Since you’re likely sitting in front of the computer for most of the day, any standing or walking will help counterbalance those sedentary effects.

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2. Seated-to-standing (chair squats)


When you are seated for long periods of time, your glutes and hamstrings become underused and therefore, when you attempt to stand, you likely rely on your back and neck to hoist your body into position. This movement fires up your quadriceps to awaken the muscles in the legs and bumps up your heart rate for a cardiovascular advantage.

How to complete: Sit at the edge of your office chair, keeping your back straight, your chest out, and shoulders down. Place your legs shoulder-width apart, with your knees at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. Press your heels through the floor and come into a standing position. Then, slowly lower yourself back down into a seated position. If you have a swivel chair, be cautious that it does not swivel from beneath you before you sit. If you have any issues with stability, you can counterbalance your movement by placing your arms out in front of you. Perform five to ten repetitions at least twice daily.

3. Seated leg lifts


Staying with the theme of firing up your lower body, this is a simple movement that can increase your blood flow, strengthen your leg and core muscles, decrease the risk of muscle atrophy, and increase your energy levels.

How to complete: Sit in your office chair, keeping your back straight, your chest out, and your shoulders down. Straighten your right leg out in front of you and tighten the quadriceps muscle. Raise the foot off the floor approximately 8 to 12 inches. Make certain to keep your hips level throughout the movement. Lower your right foot back to the floor and repeat. Perform fifteen to twenty repetitions per leg.

4. Incline push-ups


You don’t have to drop to the floor to tackle push-ups; instead, utilize your desk in order to build upper body strength. In addition to exercising the chest, the incline pushup engages the shoulders (deltoid) and arms (triceps), as well as a long list of muscles throughout the abs, back, hips, and legs that act as stabilizers and prevent any sagging or arching of the spinal column during the movement.

How to complete: Stand a few feet away from your desk or counter and place your hands about shoulder-width apart on the edge. Keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears with your glutes tight and body in one straight line from shoulder to feet, lower your body toward the desk, allowing your elbows to bend as your chest gets closer to the desk. Exhale and push away until your arms are straight. Perform these throughout the day, completing five to ten repetitions at a time.

person using a laptop in an office

5. Seated arm circles


As we sit for long periods of time, gravity tends to pull our shoulders forward which creates a slumped posture, along with a slight forward head protrusion. This leads to back and neck pain, headaches, and reduced energy levels. A simple way to combat this is to open up our chests and get our shoulders active.

How to complete: Sit in your office chair, keeping your back straight, your chest out and shoulders down. Extend your arms out beside you in a T-position. Begin making small circles with your arms. You can make those arm circles larger and can change up the direction of the circle (clockwise to counter-clockwise or vice versa). To make this more difficult, hold onto something weighted in each hand (dumbbell, water bottle, table weight, etc). Perform at least ten to fifteen rotations a few times per day, particularly when you find yourself slouching.

These are just five movements that you can do while in your office or cubicle area that will help to promote strength and mobility throughout your body. On particularly longer days, take advantage of these exercises to help break up the monotony of your work; and while it certainly will help your body, it will benefit your mind as well. To make this a daily habit, encourage co-workers to participate along with you and watch the esteem of your office rise simply from moving more.

Rebekah Miller is a writer for exercise.com and MS of Kinesiology, CSCS, NASM- CPT, RYT-200, and Precision Nutrition, Level 1-Certified. She founded Iron Fit Performance, a strength and conditioning facility located in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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